Hundreds Gather to Say Goodbye to Austin Bice

Friends say he was always positive

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC San Diego
    More than 600 people attended a March 20, 2011, memorial service for Austin Bice, the San Diego State student found dead in Spain last month.

    An overflowed crowd of 600-plus people gathered at the San Dieguito United Methodist Church on Sunday to say goodbye to Austin Bice.

    "He inspired me in so many ways," said family friend Jay Carpenter, who traveled from Phoenix for the memorial. "I never heard Austin say anything other than something positive about situations and people.  He was an incredible person."

    Bice, a 22-year-old San Diego State student, was studying abroad in Madrid, Spain, when he went missing last month.  After a week and a half of searching, Bice's body was found in a river not far from the nightclub where he left friends to walk home.

    Investigators said Bice's body was found with his cell phone and wallet, and no signs of foul play. The medical examiner has since ruled the death an accidental drowning, but toxicology tests are still pending.

    Austin Bice's Father Walks Through Last Few Days

    [DGO] Austin Bice's Father Walks Through Last Few Days
    Larry Bice with his wife Pam addressed reporters and recounted what happened in the days leading up to the discovery of his son's body in a Madrid river. Austin Bice was found March 8, 10 days after he was last seen outside a nightclub. More video: Austin Bice’s mother Pam thanks people from all over the world for their prayers Watch video.

    Bice was a graduate of Torrey Pines High School where friends say he was always smiling and always put other people first.

    "He's the light we all wish we could be," said Marcus Macaulay, Bice's best friend. "In his life, family comes first, then other people, then himself."

    Austin Bice's Mother: Thank You for Prayers

    [DGO] Austin Bice's Mother: Thank You for Prayers
    The mother of SDSU student Austin Bice, found dead in Madrid after being missing for 10 days, takes a moment to thank people from all over the world for sending their prayers to her son and her family. More video: Austin Bice’s father walks through the last few days Watch here.

    The family's website says in lieu of flowers, they request donations be made to the Austin Bice Memorial Trust. Part of the fund will go toward men and women serving in the armed forces.

    Bice was in awe of their efforts to serve their country, according to the website.

    According to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, students in Spain are also planning a memorial for him there.