NewsCovering Colorado


Parents of Air Force Academy cadet candidate plead for more help finding son

Posted at 10:16 PM, Dec 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-08 00:17:02-05
Micah Tice
Air Force Academy Cadet Candidate Micah Tice.

ESTES PARK – The parents of Micah Tice pleaded for help finding their son who was last seen the morning of Saturday, November 24th in the Battle Mountain Area of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Tice a cadet candidate at the U.S. Air Force Academy was last seen by hikers who said the weather and visibility were getting worse as he headed further into the park.

Park Rangers found his car that Monday and started searching the next day. Search and rescue teams covered a 10 square mile area from the ground and the air.

This Tuesday, the National Park Service announced it’s suspending the search and would only carry out limited searches if weather allowed.

Tice’s parents requested more help and resources. They say they’ve reached out to state and federal leaders asking for help. They believe that their son could have taken shelter in a part of the park that has not yet been searched. They say there are numerous shelters where a hiker could take cover to hide from the elements. They also say there was a cell phone transaction at 10,500 feet, and that searchers are looking in the wrong area.

They’re also offering a $10,000 reward and are asking experienced hikers to help them search.

Late Friday evening the National Park Service responded to some of the comments that Tice’s parents made.

Here is their response:

Response from Rocky Mountain National Park to statements made during the Tice family news conference tonight, December 7, 2018.

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.   
For additional background on search efforts::