Father of missing SDSU student thanks search volunteers - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Father of missing SDSU student thanks volunteers in search for his son

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Larry Bice, father of missing student Larry Bice, father of missing student
Austin Bice, 22, missing in Madrid, Spain Austin Bice, 22, missing in Madrid, Spain

MADRID, Spain (CBS 8/CNS) -- The father of an SDSU student missing in Spain since last weekend became emotional when thanking a large group of search volunteers in Madrid on Saturday.

"I just wanted to say thank you all for being here," said Larry Bice, Austin Bice's father, who flew to Madrid from Carlsbad on Wednesday. "It's hard for me to talk about it... but thank you."

Austin Bice has been missing for more than a week now, after last being seen walking away from a popular nightclub in Madrid.

Witnesses had previously said he was intoxicated at the time and not allowed in to the club, which is something family members are now refuting.

Earlier Saturday near that nightclub, dozens took part in the large-scale search that fanned out across the city.

Many in the search party did not even know the international business major who'd been participating in a semester-abroad program at a Spanish university. "My brother disappeared in similar circumstances two years ago," said Ruben Marcos, a Madrid resident who volunteered in the search, "and I know that any help can be valuable.."

The search took place near the Madrid nightclub where Austin was last seen outside with a group of friends in the early morning hours of February 26.

Contrary to earlier reports, a family member said Saturday that while Austin had "had a few beers," he was not drunk and not refused entry to the club, but instead decided to walk home alone.

"We always told him, never be by yourself. Always be with somebody. And I think the problem was he got a little bit overconfident and decided that he wanted to go it alone, go back to the house by himself and that was the problem," said one family member, Juan Gabriel Paredes, who came to Madrid from Wichita, Kansas, to help Bice's father in the search.

The 6'5", 225-pound former Torrey Pines High football player apparently never returned to his room and hasn't been seen since.

"We're just trying to do the best of our efforts," said Julio Pardo, an SDSU student and friend. "We're just trying to continue, continue looking for him. We're not going to stop, not going to lose hope, continue being optimistic."

A candlelight vigil will be held on Monday for the missing student.

The Agape House, an SDSU campus ministry organization, scheduled a vigil for 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday on the campus's Free Speech Steps.

"This is an opportunity to come together as a community to show our support for Austin and his family in this time of difficulty,'' the group stated on the event's Facebook page.  "It's a time to stand together in prayer and solidarity in support of Austin.''

No program is planned for the vigil, but it's open to the public and anyone wishing to speak will be able to, organizers said.

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