SDSU Student Found Dead

Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011  |  Updated 10:36 AM PDT
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Bice Family Searches in Madrid

AP

Police stand by the covered body of a U.S. exchange student, in Madrid, Tuesday, March 8, 2011. The body of a U.S. exchange student was found Tuesday in a river in Madrid, 10 days after he went missing following a night out, a police official said. The cause of death was not known but there were no immediate signs of foul play in the death of San Diego State University business student Austin Bice, who was 22, the National Police official said. (AP Photo/Paul White)

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Bice Family Searches in Madrid

San Diego State will hold a candlelight vigil Monday for Austin Bice, a 22-year-old senior and Torrey Pines High School graduate who has been missing since Feb. 25.
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The body of San Diego State University student Austin Bice was found in Madrid overnight.

Bice, 22, had been studying this semester in Spain as part of the SDSU foreign exchange studies.

His body was found in the Manzanares River, a shallow, slow-moving waterway that runs through western Madrid, in a spot not far from the nightclub where he was last seen 10 days before his body was found.

A section of the river was drained as part of the search.

National police say they don't know the cause of death. They also said there were no immediate signs of foul play.

Bice of Carlsbad, Calif. was last seen Feb. 26. A Madrid newspaper reported that bouncers refused Bice entry into the club because he appeared to be too intoxicated. Friends say he didn't go into a nightclub with his friends and decided to walk home.  However, a friend now says, police now believe the last time Bice was seen was at a fast food restaurant.

Bice's father , Larry Bice, had traveled to Madrid to help in the search. He did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment. The director for public relations at Larry Bice's employer, ViaSat Inc., sent out a statement to local media asking reporters to give the Bice family their privacy.

Family members are waiting for Mr. Bice to return from Spain Tuesday evening before they are ready to speak or release any statement, according to Bruce Rowe with ViaSat Inc.

Carlos Lopez-Terradas, who runs the exchange program at Carlos III University, described Bice as a popular young man with lots of friends. The university has sent an e-mail to all students and staff informing them of Bice's death, and flags there were flying at half-staff Tuesday in his honor. The university has also contacted Bice's family about holding a memorial ceremony for him in Spain.

"We are crushed. We still cannot believe it," Lopez-Terradas said.

SDSU students held a candlelight vigil Monday night next to the school's Aztec Center.

"He's just a compassionate, smart funny, bright, loving, really family-oriented kid," said Joan Fabino, a friend of Bice.

In postings on his blog, Bice wrote about his experience in Spain -- touching on themes ranging from Spanish food, a trip to Valencia, his initial difficulty with Spanish, heavy homework assignments and Madrid's vibrant nightlife.

Bice was amazed at the party scene, with both Spanish and foreign students often staying out until dawn, but said in a Feb. 9 post that he wasn't imbibing as much as others.

"Before I came to Spain, I was told by all of my advisers that I should try to keep calm at parties and not try to be the typical loud and drunk American," Bice wrote. "I have done exactly that, staying back and watching hilarious drunken events occur from a relatively sober mind. The Spaniards at the party were not following along with this ideology."

On his last post on Feb. 25, he said he was going out: "Hopefully it will not disappoint (I assume it will not). It's in Madrid and it should be a fun night."

An autopsy will be carried out Tuesday or Wednesday. It is not clear when the results will be released but the information will be given to Bice's family and to a Spanish investigating magistrate, the Madrid government said.

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