March 31, 2011

02/26/11: Austin Bice, 22, Madrid, Spain

Austin Bice
Credit: El PAIS / Carlos Rosillo
Austin Bice, 22, an honor student in international business at San Diego State University was last seen in the early hours of Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011, in Madrid, Spain.

Bice, an exchange student at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, had spent the night with friends drinking in an apartment before going out to La Sala Riviera nightclub located on Virgen del Puerto in western Madrid.

A doorman at the club suggested Bice rest a while before going in because he looked unwell. A friend stayed outside with him until 1 a.m., when Bice said he was going to walk home. When he failed to return home, roommates reported him missing.

On March 8, 2011, Bice’s body was found in the shallow, slow-moving waters of the Manzanares River, 900 feet south of the nightclub where he was last seen. The body was located after a 550-yard section of river was drained as part of the search.

There were no immediate signs of foul play. An autopsy was carried out, but it is not clear when the results will be released to Bice's family and to a Spanish investigating magistrate. The results of toxicology tests and a full autopsy report are pending, and should be available in the next several weeks. An independent autopsy in San Diego will also be performed.

About Austin Bice

Austin Bice was described by the as “an honor student, star football player, loving son, brother, and a caring friend to many people. Austin was a mature and stable adult, who was admired by many people, and was described as "lighting up a room" with the warmth and energy of his personality by those who knew him well.”

Austin Bice
Facebook photo

Bice, from Carlsbad, California, had been attending school at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, in part of the city called Getafe, since January 15. Carlos Lopez-Terradas, who runs the exchange program at Carlos III University, described Bice as a popular young man with lots of friends.

According to the, “In postings on his blog, Bice wrote about his experience with Spain…[he] 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."

Bice was tall and physically fit. He was six-foot-four, 230 pounds and had recently climbed Mt. Whitney in California with his father. He was a star football center at SDSU and was called a “gentle giant.” He also enjoyed softball and kickball at San Diego State, and cheering on the SDSU Aztecs, his favorite basketball team.

He added: "Now, I truly must be going, my Spanish roommates are expecting me to prepare some authentic American food ... Hope they like Hamburgers!"

A Memorial Trust has been set up in Austin Bice’s name to fund scholarships. For more information or to donate, visit the family’s Web page at

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