Tice, a U.S. freelance photojournalist who contributed to The Washington Post, McClatchy, Al-Jazeera English, and several other news outlets, went missing in mid-August 2012, according to news reports. He was last heard from on August 13, 2012, according to his family’s website.
In 2014, a State Department official told CPJ that they were working to determine Tice’s status and whereabouts. Previously, the Czech Republic’s ambassador said that Austin may be detained by the Syrian government. The Syrian government has denied holding Tice, according to news reports citing his family.
The first public sign of Tice’s condition appeared in a YouTube video posted on September 26, 2012. In the 47-second clip, a group of turbaned men shout “Allahu akbar” (God is great) and push Tice to his knees. Several analysts and news reports suggested that the scenes in the video were staged, and that the segment had been shot to promote a view that Islamic extremist groups were behind the unrest in Syria.
The Tice family said in a statement on their website on May 30, 2013, that they have not had any contact with Austin or his captors and “do not know with certainty who is holding him captive.”