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Family of missing cadet candidate pleads for help from state, federal officials, including President

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The family of 20-year-old Micah Tice, the Air Force Academy preparatory school student missing on Longs Peak plead to the public Friday, asking for the help of Donald Trump and Colorado's governor. 

Father of Micah, Benjamin Tice, claims the National Park Service has not done enough to try and help find their son. They claim they did not do their part in requesting help in the search efforts from Fort Carson, despite their willingness to help. 

“Limited searches were conducted and directed by the National Park Service and their search and rescue from Nov. 27 to Dec. 3rd,” said Benjamin Tice. “A total of 6 days of boots on the ground.”

The 20-year-old has been missing for nearly two weeks and was last seen hiking in Longs Peak in the Rocky Mountain National Park. 

Rocky Mountain National Park officials suspended the search for Micah Tice for two weeks due to harsh, wintry weather conditions.

Since the search begun, crews have covered about 10 square miles with trained crews, dogs, and helicopters all included in the help. During those efforts, rangers discovered Tice's vehicle at the Longs Peak trailhead the afternoon of Nov. 26.

Benjamin Tice also said his family has been denied any access to additional resources in order to search for Micah.

“Despite our family’s pleas with the National Park Service to request assistance from the military, and specifically Fort Carson’s Mountaineering Division, we were repeatedly denied and were told that the NPS had sufficient resources,“ Benjamin said.

Tice believes Micah may have tried seeking shelter near an area of the National Park Service that has not been searched. 

“Hikers who’ve gone to this non-National Park Service searched zone report that there are numerous shelters that a hiker could be protected from severe weather elements,” Benjamin Tice said.

During the press conference Friday, Tice pleaded for help from state and federal officials, including President Donald Trump.

“President Trump: we plead for your help. Secretary Zinke has the ability to request military assistance, and we have thus far not received word that this was formally done, despite verbal understandings that this was done. Secretary Zinke: we plead for your help. Colorado Governor Hickenlooper has the ability to activate National Guard troops to assist with the Micah Tice rescue. Gov. Hickenlooper: We plead for your help. Colorado Governor-Elect Jared Polis has tremendous influence in this area as Congressman. Governor-Elect Polis: we plead for your help,” said Benjamin Tice.

Tice went on to say friends and family of Micah will continue searching the area again this weekend. They are planning on focusing on the area where his cell phone was last recorded to have been used. 

Micah's parents are also offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who finds their missing son.

 

Late Friday evening, Rocky Mountain National Park issued this response to claims by Micah's family:

 

First and foremost, our hearts continue to go out to Micah's family and friends.  We cannot begin to understand the pain and anguish Micah's parents must be feeling, coupled with their helplessness in wanting to find their son.  We also want to find Micah. 

Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue Team members began our active search efforts at sunrise on Tuesday, November 27, three days after Micah was last seen.   Severe blizzard conditions existed on the mountain when he left the trailhead at 6:30 a.m. on November 24, reported to be wearing sweatpants, a sweatshirt and tennis shoes.  Micah had apparently not communicated his plans to anyone.

The search for Micah has continued in severe winter conditions. The number of rescuers in the field beginning the morning of November 27 through Monday, December 3, has been appropriate given the difficulty of the high alpine environment, and the safety of the rescuers.

Ground resources needed on a daily basis were fulfilled from park staff and numerous partner agencies.  Per the park's request, the Colorado Search and Rescue Board provided a review on day four of search efforts and concurred with the ongoing operation and resource levels.

Military assets used have included helicopter support from the Colorado Air National Guard, cell phone analysis from Air Force Resource Coordination Center (AFRCC), and the mountaineering club from USAFA. Rocky Mountain National Park was not contacted by Fort Carson to provide assistance.

Regarding the cell phone transaction data that is referenced in their news conference this information was oversimplified.  There are several potential areas identified as 'transactions' where Micah's phone may have been at around 3:35 a.m. on Sunday morning, November 25.  The cell phone data was requested early in the investigation, and received on Thursday, November 29.   Cell phone data provided broad areas of potential transactions but is vague information given the limitations of the signal in that area.  These transactions are not "pings" nor texts nor phone calls.  This information indicates the cell phone was picking up a signal early Sunday morning.  The large area referenced in the news conference has been challenging to access due to extreme winter alpine conditions and terrain. 

On Sunday, December 2, there was finally an improvement in weather.  This area was flown by Colorado Air National Guard helicopters and tracks were identified. These tracks were considered a good clue to pursue and ground teams were directed to search a lower area where the tracks led.  These potential tracks were also searched the following day, Monday, December 3, and were finally ruled out, with no further clues.

Further search activities related to this area occurred today with rescuers and a search dog in the drainages below that particular zone of interest.  There were no additional clues.  The upper alpine portion is planned to be searched tomorrow, with appropriate personnel as conditions allow.

The family referenced 'shelters,' there are no shelters but innumerable large boulders.

Regarding comments made pertaining to the Albert SAR - Rocky Mountain National Park is the fourth most visited national park and last year was the third busiest park for search and rescue operations in the country.  We have some of the most experienced and trained search and rescue professionals in the country.  We are also grateful for the strong partnerships we have with other professional search and rescue organizations in the state who are composed of dedicated volunteers.  Our staff are accustomed to more than one hundred incidents a year.  The Albert SAR was similar in duration and resources.  There are differences in the two incidents with regards to objectives and tactics.  In no way did the search for Ryan Albert impact our resources on the search for Micah.

The search operations for Micah have had broad agency review and input, including partner rescue organizations.  All reviews conducted have supported the ongoing search operation.

Snowfall and high winds in this extreme high mountain terrain make finding clues to Tice's whereabouts even more difficult.  In the absence of additional clues, active broad scale search operations were suspended on December 4, after seven days of field searching.  However, limited search activities will occur during winter months as conditions allow, such as today and tomorrow.   

 

 

PREVIOUS STORY: 

The search for missing Air Force Academy Cadet Candidate Micah Tice has been suspended after a week of crews scouring the wilderness near Longs Peak.

Tice was last seen on Nov. 24 by other park visitors in the Battle Mountain Area. He has been missing since then. Tuesday, the National Park Service announced that the search was being suspended.

NPS said "very few clues have been discovered" during the search, and crews had to battle extreme weather conditions including ice, snow, significant winds, and low visibility.

Tice is still considered a missing person, and the investigation will remain open. If you have any information about his planned route, call 970-586-1204.

PREVIOUS STORY:

The search for a missing Air Force Academy cadet candidate continued Wednesday at Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Crews are searching for Micah Tice in areas around the Longs Peak Trail, East Longs Peak Trail, Granite Pass, and Jim’s Grove area.

Search teams are also in the Estes Cone area, the Boulder Brook Trail area, the Storm Pass area, and the Roaring Fork Drainage. 

They've been having a difficult time in the search due to extremely high winds, forcing searchers to focus their efforts below 12,000 feet.

Larimer County Search and Rescue Dog Team are assisting Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue Team members.

His mom, Janice Young Tice, says she recently learned Micah purchased survival tools like a life straw, tools to make a fire in snow, and medical supplies for self-administered first-aid.

Tice also says Wednesday she learned Micah had researched the weather before attempting the hike.

On Monday, November 26, Rocky Mountain National Park rangers were notified that the US Air Force Academy was asking for assistance in locating a missing Cadet Candidate, Micah Tice, 20, from Las Vegas, Nevada, who was last heard from late Friday, November 23. 

Tice’s vehicle was located at the Longs Peak Trailhead late Monday afternoon.  It is unknown what Tice’s planned destination or route was.

Park rangers would like to hear from anyone who has been in the Longs Peak area since Saturday morning, November 24, or who may have had contact with Tice regarding his planned route on Longs Peak. 

Please call Rocky Mountain National Park at 970-586-1204 if you have information.      


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