Parents of Eagle Scout journalist missing in Syria since 2012 remain hopeful

Austin Tice photo

Fellow Eagle Scouts, one of our own is missing in Syria.

Austin Tice, an Eagle Scout, U.S. Marine veteran and freelance journalist, has been missing in the war-torn country in western Asia since Aug. 14, 2012.

On Dec. 4, 2018, his parents said at a news conference in Beirut that they have new information that leads them to believe he’s still alive.

The FBI has offered a $1 million reward, and the National Press Club has launched a new fundraising effort to match that total. The group has named May 2 as a “Night Out for Austin Tice,” where diners who eat at participating restaurants can help the campaign to free Austin Tice.

Who is Austin Tice?

Tice was one of the few journalists working in this highly dangerous region. He was contributing to The Washington Post, McClatchy, CBS and other news outlets when he was kidnapped.

News about his location or condition has been basically nonexistent.

But his parents, Debra and Marc, haven’t given up hope. They didn’t specify the nature of the new information that emerged late in 2018, but they told The Washington Post that it gave them renewed hope.

“It’s not just the feeling in our hearts that Austin is alive,” Marc Tice told the Post. “It’s the consensus of all those working on his case.”

Austin Tice’s parents appealed to the governments of the United States and Syria to work out a deal for their son’s release.

Tice, the Eagle Scout

In 2014, on the second anniversary of Austin Tice’s disappearance, Debra and Marc wrote this letter in The Washington Post sharing memories of their son and speaking with the kind of pride familiar to all parents of Eagle Scouts.

From your earliest days as an Eagle Scout, a top student, a terrific athlete, and a caring friend and neighbor, we knew you were a special kid. When you put your Georgetown Law education on hold to follow your journalistic dreams, we knew you were extraordinary. When you did so to help people in one of the most dangerous regions in the world, we knew you were one in a million.

From what I’ve read and learned about Austin Tice, it’s tough to argue with that sentiment. He’s a truly remarkable man.

I first reached Marc Tice by email in 2014, and he gave me his blessing to go ahead with this blog post. He told me his son, who earned the Eagle Scout award as a member of Houston Troop 266, is the man he is today because of Scouting.

Austin Tice attended multiple summer camps at El Rancho Cima in the Texas Hill Country, hiked at Philmont, sailed at the Florida Sea Base and canoed the Boundary Waters.

“Scouting was important to Austin, and he is very proud of achieving his Eagle,” Marc Tice wrote. “We all recognize the positive impact of Scouting in forming Austin into the man he is today.”

Learn more and help the Tice family

Please visit the website they’ve set up to learn more about how you can help.

Photos of Austin Tice in Scouting

Marc shared these photos with me:

Austin Tice receives the Arrow of Light Award from his dad, Pack 80 Cubmaster Marc Tice.
Austin Tice receives the Arrow of Light Award from his dad, Pack 80 Cubmaster Marc Tice.
Cub Scout Austin presents his mom, Debra, with a mother's pin.
Cub Scout Austin presents his mom, Debra, with a mother’s pin.
Austin crosses over into Boy Scouting.
Austin crosses over into Boy Scouting.
Austin takes a break while working on his Eagle Scout project.
Austin takes a break while working on his Eagle Scout project.
Scoutmaster Bill Wallace presents Austin with Troop 266's "Scout of the Year" award.
Scoutmaster Bill Wallace presents Austin with Troop 266’s “Scout of the Year” award.
Austin poses during his Eagle Scout ceremony in 2003.
Austin poses during his Eagle Scout ceremony.
Marc and Debra Tice stand proud as Austin receives his Eagle Scout award.
Marc and Debra Tice stand proud as Austin receives his Eagle Scout award.

Updated: This article was originally posted in 2014 and updated in 2019.

About Bryan Wendell 2801 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is senior editor of Boys’ Life, Scouting and Eagles’ Call magazines.