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Family Of Kidnapped Houston Photojournalist Remains Optimistic

This is the fifth holiday season that Austin Tice hasn’t been at home with his family here in Houston. Here’s a look at the latest on the photojournalist who went missing in Syria more than four years ago.

Houston photojournalist Austin Tice, missing in Syria since August 2012.

U.S. Senator John Cornyn of Texas was recently briefed by James O’Brien, the Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs.

“Mr. O’Brien and his team informed me that they have high confidence that Austin is alive in Syria, along with other Americans who are being held captive.”

Austin’s mother Debra says the executive order that created O’Brien’s job helps unite various agencies in Washington, D.C. :”This is an amazing new position where Jim is actually able to interface with governments of countries where Americans are being held hostage and speak with the voice of authority.”

Tice was abducted while preparing to travel from Damascus to Beirut, Lebanon, on August 14th, 2012 — three days after his 31st birthday. His father Marc says the family remains optimistic.

“None of us have ever had any doubt that Austin was alive and well and will come safely home to us. That is also the assessment of the United States government.”

The Tice family says with Senator Cornyn publicly sharing the same optimism that they have, it doesn’t feel like just blind hope on their part.

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