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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Body of US Student Missing in Spain Found in River

Body of US Student Missing in Spain Found in River

The body of an American college student studying in Spain was found in a shallow river in Madrid this morning, more than a week after he vanished after going to a nightclub.

Austin Bice, 22, was found in the Manzanares River in the western part of the capital city, near the club where he was last seen on Feb. 26, The Associated Press reported, citing an unidentified National Police official. He was a senior at San Diego State University.

"The San Diego State campus is saddened by this tragic news which confirms our worst fears," university president Stephen Weber said in a statement. "Our thoughts this morning are with Austin's family and friends who have our deepest sympathies."

"A sad day for San Diego," the school's spokesman said on Twitter earlier this morning.

Bice was found after part of the river was drained, Jesus Sanchez, a spokesman for the central government's main regional office in Madrid,told CNN.

The cause of death was not known, the AP said, and there were no obvious signs of foul play. An autopsy will be conducted.

Bice, of Carlsbad, Calif., was studying international business with an emphasis on Spanish and Western Europe at San DiegoState and had been participating in a semester-long exchange program in Spain at Carlos III University since January.

One of Bice's friends, Marcia Garcia, told the AP that Bice and some friends were drinking before going to the nightclub. A doorman suggested that he looked unwell and that he rest outside the club, and a friend stayed with him, the AP said. Bice then said he was going to walk home.

His roommates reported him missing after he failed to come home, and friends put up posters around Madrid with his photo. His father traveled to Madrid and retraced the steps his son took on the night he disappeared.

On Monday night, an estimated 150 classmates and friends at San Diego State held a vigil on campus for Bice, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

"We wanted to support the Bice family, but we don't want to intrude on them," said senior accounting major Christine Jennings, one of the organizers.

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