Missing American journalist's parents: Send our son home from Syria for Christmas
December 20, 2012 -- Updated 2332 GMT (0732 HKT)
Austin Tice, a freelance journalist working in Syria has not been heard from since August.
- Marc and Debra Tice: "We urge you, whoever you are: Let Austin come home for Christmas"
- Austin Tice last contacted his family on August 13 while in Syria
- The State Department has said it believes he was detained by Syrian officials
- The Syrian government has said it doesn't know where the journalist is
(CNN) -- The parents of an American journalist missing in Syria have a new message for his captors: "Let us be a whole family again."
In a statement published Thursday on the McClatchy Newspapers website, Austin Tice's parents say he went to Syria to share the stories of the country's people.
"We urge you, whoever you are: Let Austin come home for Christmas," Marc and Debra Tice wrote. "Let us hug him, laugh and cry with him, love him in person."
Parents of missing journalist speak out
Video appears to show missing journalist
Austin Tice, who was working as a freelancer for McClatchy and other news outlets, last contacted his family on August 13 while in Syria reporting on the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's government. He was reportedly preparing to leave Syria for Lebanon when he went missing, according to his family.
Read more: Syrian government denies holding missing journalist, father says
In Thursday's statement, Marc and Debra Tice describe their son as someone who has "a special affinity for the people of the Middle East."
"He is especially attracted to your tradition of hospitality," the statement said. "He deeply connects with your intense loyalty to family, faith and ideals."
The U.S. State Department has said they believe Tice was detained by Syrian officials in August as he was preparing to leave the country. He had smuggled himself into the country to report on the uprising.
In November, Marc Tice told reporters that the Syrian government had told his family that it doesn't know where their son is.
In October, a shaky video surfaced on YouTube showing a man believed to be Tice surrounded by armed men walking him up a hill.
State Department officials have questioned the veracity of the video, which purports to show Tice in the custody of rebels fighting the Syrian government.
Read more: Video appears to show missing U.S. journalist blindfolded and in distress
Earlier this month, Tice's parents told CNN they do not want to speculate about who is holding him; they just want their son back home.
Austin is the oldest of the couple's seven children.
"He likes to know what's going on in the world," Debra Tice said earlier this month, and he was frustrated by the lack firsthand reporting from Syria's civil war.
She said her son had reassured her that it was worth it to travel to Syria.
"I'm someone that can go," he told her. "I can face that danger because this story is important.'"
CNN's Elwyn Lopez, Claire Calzonetti, Samuel Burke and Mick Krever contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
February 8, 2013 -- Updated 0718 GMT (1518 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
Today's five most popular stories