Forensic experts performed an autopsy Wednesday on the body of a California college student pulled from of a Madrid river, but it could take weeks before the result is known, a judicial official said.
Larry Bice said Wednesday in Carlsbad, Calif., that he hopes Spanish authorities will provide answers soon.
"We want to know right now what it is," he said. "We also know they take their time, until we know, we won’t be satisfied."
It will be up to the judge handling the case to determine whether the findings of the autopsy for 22-year-old Austin Bice are made public, said a spokesman for Madrid's Superior Justice Tribunal who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with department rules.
The initial results of the autopsy, which concluded around 6.30 a.m. PT, will be forwarded to the judge and to Bice's family, said a spokeswoman for the Madrid regional government's justice and interior department said. She also spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with department policy.
Any further tests ordered by the forensic experts, such as toxicology tests, could take up to three weeks to come back, the officials said.
Police said they found no signs of foul play after Bice's body was spotted in a stretch of the slow-moving Manzanares River that had been drained as part of the search for the San Diego State University student on a semester abroad in Madrid.
Bice's father said he has not ruled out foul play in his son's death.
He spent nearly a week searching for his 22-year-old son, Austin, near the Madrid nightclub where he was last seen. He says the river was across the street and was walled, and that friends told him his son was not drunk.
Bice says his son was a good swimmer and that there were ladders along the walls of the river.
When asked what the couple would say to other parents whose children are considering studying abroad, Pam Bice said, "I’d say don’t send them. Don’t let them go.”
In Spanish cases where investigations determine that no one else had a role in the death, the results are almost always kept secret and forwarded only to the family to protect the privacy of the victim, the spokesman said.
Austin Bice had been missing since Feb. 26 after saying goodbye to friends outside a nightclub several few hundred meters (yards) from the place in the river where his body emerged.
Bice, from Carlsbad, Calif., was studying international business at Carlos III University and had been in Spain since January. Roommates had reported him missing after he failed to return home following the night out.
The site where Bice's body was pulled from the river borders a pedestrian walkway and a park. Bouquets of flowers had been placed there Wednesday, along with candles and a picture of Bice glued on a makeshift American flag with the words: "Murdered in Madrid. Americans Demand Justice!!!"
There was nothing to indicate who had placed the sign there, and retired military engineer Manuel Calderon said he thought it was premature for people to conclude that Bice was a homicide victim.
But Calderon, 78, said it was also difficult to understand how Bice might have fallen into the river because a three foot- (one meter-) wide stone wall separates long stretches of the walkway from the water.
"I just don't understand it. Maybe he was lying or sitting on top the wall and somehow fell in," said Calderon.
Calderon and other residents said the area is very safe, even long after midnight, and that young adults heading home from nights out on the town frequently walk along the river in the park because crime isn't a problem. None could remember anyone ever falling into the river.
Family members and friends said Bice was enjoying his time in Madrid. He posted glowing reports on his blog touching on themes ranging from Spanish food, to a trip to Valencia, his initial difficulty with Spanish, heavy homework assignments and Madrid's vibrant nightlife.