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Missing U.S. Student In Spain Has Ties To Sacramento Area

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A poster of missing U.S. student Austin Bice, stuck to a parking meter in Madrid March 6, 2011.  (AP)

A poster of missing U.S. student Austin Bice, stuck to a parking meter in Madrid March 6, 2011. (AP)

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MADRID – Police, family and friends have stepped up a search for a San Diego State University exchange student who went missing after visiting a nightclub in Madrid more than a week ago.

Friends said 22-year-old Austin Bice was last seen outside Riviera concert venue and discotheque in the early hours of Feb. 26. The family he was staying with laid a plate for him at lunch later in the day and raised the alarm when they realized he was not in his bedroom.

Friend Maria Garcia said Bice and his friends had been drinking at an apartment before going out to the club. A doorman suggested he rest a while before going in because he looked unwell. A friend stayed outside with him until Bice said he was going home.

“He had left his credit cards and passport in his room, and had not taken a winter coat, so we’re concerned because it was very cold that night,” said Garcia.

Bice lived with his family in Granite Bay until 1999, according to the Sacramento Bee. The family now lives in Carlsbad, Calif. 

Larry Bice, Austin’s father, flew to Madrid last week to help search for his son. He has praised efforts by the Spanish police to find Austin.

“They’re really behind us,” Bice’s father told “Early Show” co-anchor Chris Wragge on Monday. “We’re at the very top of their list of things to do and take care of.”

Asked about the reports that his son may have been intoxicated before disappearing, Larry Bice told “The Early Show” he hadn’t sought to interrogate Austin’s friends.

“My point is to find Austin… We’re not really concerned about that. We’re concerned about finding him.”

Posters with recent photographs of Bice have been placed around the city seeking information.

Bice’s father said his son was physically fit, tall — six-foot-four — and that he and his son had recently climbed Mt. Whitney.

Garcia said Bice had only been in Madrid for a month and a half, so was not yet fully acquainted with the area. She said that police and later friends had carefully combed the area around the club and found no trace of Bice.

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