Wide search for Calif. student missing in Spain

AP News
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Posted: Mar 05, 2011 8:05 PM
Wide search for Calif. student missing in Spain

Family, friends and authorities from the United States and Spain searched Saturday for a San Diego State University exchange student who disappeared in Madrid more than a week ago.

The university said that Austin Taylor Bice, 22, was last seen by friends on Feb. 25.

"We are deeply concerned about Austin and our hearts go out to Austin's family and friends," the school's Provost Nancy Marlin said. "We are providing any information that might be helpful to the local authorities and the U.S. Embassy in Madrid."

Marlin said university officials have been in "constant contact" with Bice's family and the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, where the college senior arrived in mid-January to spend a semester studying international business.

His father, Larry Bice, has flown to Madrid, where he led dozens of family, friends and other volunteers in a search for his son. Friends told the San Diego Union-Tribune they last saw Austin turned away from a nightclub before he disappeared.

The group searched the Puerta del Angel neighborhood beginning at the La Riviera nightclub and ending on the banks of the Mazanares River, the newspaper said.

Rep. Brian Bilbray, whose district includes Bice's hometown of Carlsbad, told the newspaper that Spanish and American officials have accelerated the search for the student.

"The report I've gotten is that both the Spanish and the American authorities have shifted into high gear on this issue," Bilbray told the Union-Tribune. "Right now, it looks like all the cylinders are hitting, and we've basically got everybody doing what they seem to have to do."

On his personal travel blog, titled "AB's European Tour 2011," Bice wrote on the morning before he was last seen that he was looking forward to the evening out.

"Hopefully it will not disappoint," he wrote. "It's in Madrid, and it should be a fun night."

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Information from: The San Diego Union-Tribune, http://www.signonsandiego.com