American Student Found Dead in Spanish River

March 8, 2011 - 7:45 AM

Andrew Bice

This recent, undated family photo shows Austin Bice, a San Diego State University exchange student from Carlsbad, Calif., who went missing in Spain on Feb. 26 and whose body has now been recovered from a river in Madrid. (AP Photo/Courtesy Bice Family)

Madrid (AP) - The body of a U.S. exchange student was found Tuesday in a river in Madrid, 10 days after he went missing following a night out, a police official said.

The cause of death was not known but there were no immediate signs of foul play in the death of San Diego State University business student Austin Bice, who was 22, the National Police official said.

Bice's body was found in the Manzanares River, a shallow, slow-moving waterway that runs through western Madrid, in a spot not far from the nightclub where he was last seen in the early hours of Feb. 26, said the police official.

She spoke on condition of anonymity in line with department rules.

Bice, from Carlsbad, California, was studying international business at Carlos III University and had been in Spain since January.

Roommates had reported him missing after he failed to return home following a night out on the town. His father Larry Bice had traveled to Madrid to help in the search.

The body was found after a roughly 500-meter (yard) section of the river, which contains a system of locks, was drained as part of the search, police said.

That stretch was cordoned off Monday morning and police in neoprene suits stood on the banks.

After Bice went missing, friends and classmates put up posters of Bice around the city. On Monday night, students in San Diego held a candlelight vigil for him.

Bice's father had said his son was physically fit, tall -- six-foot-four -- and had recently climbed Mt. Whitney in California with him.

Maria Garcia, a friend of Bice, told the AP over the weekend that Bice and others 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 to walk home.

Bice's father did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment left with a friend who answered his cell phone.

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Ciaran Giles and Alan Clendenning contributed to this report.