At a major intersection in Humble, Texas – just north of Houston – a striking new billboard officially unveiled today. It faces south on the Eastex Freeway – you can’t miss it.
It will give many people pause, but that’s the idea. “Over 1,000 days in captivity for being a journalist. Sign the petition,” the billboard reads.
It was August 13, 2012 when Austin Tice lost contact with the rest of the world. He was one of the few Western journalists in Syria sending dispatches to the McClatchy newspapers, the Washington Post and the BBC, among other outlets.
After two months and 21 days in the field, Austin Tice disappeared in the middle of the war zone. His parents, Marc and Debra Tice are convinced that he is alive.
“We continue — from time to time — to hear from sources that we and others believe are credible that Austin’s alive, that he’s relatively okay; we have every reason to hope and expect that he’ll come home to us,” Marc Tice says.
An unattributed video of Austin being held by armed men and marched up a hill in the countryside came with a message written in Arabic: “Austin Tice is alive.”
“We recognize that Austin is a small part of an enormous human tragedy that has unfolded over the last several years in Syria,” Marc Tice says.
Now they’ve launched a campaign – #FreeAustinTice – to bring their son back home.
Listen to the interview in the audio player above.