- Associated Press - Sunday, March 6, 2011

MADRID (AP) — 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 last was seen outside the 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 Mr. 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 Mr. 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,” Ms. Garcia said.

Larry Bice, the student’s father, from Carlsbad, Calif., told the Associated Press he had flown to Madrid to help search for his son and that “the police are doing a great job; they have been very active.”

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

Mr. Bice’s father said his son was physically fit, tall — 6 feet 4 inches — and recently had climbed Mount Whitney with his father.

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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