American journalist Austin Tice—believed to be the only US reporter held hostage anywhere in the world—was captured in Syria in August 2012. Since then, US hostages James Foley, Peter Kassig, Kayla Mueller, and Steven Sotloff have been killed, and their families fear Tice's parents will soon have to share in their heartbreak. "We are four families bonded together by tragedy and terror," they write in an open letter to Obama at McClatchy. "But there is something that still can be done: Bring Austin Tice safely home."
The letter comes a year after Obama promised the US would improve on how it dealt with hostages. "You told us in person that if it were your daughters, you would do anything in your power to bring them home," says the letter. "We are not asking the White House to put anyone in harm's way, nor compromise national security," but to "engage boldly and use all appropriate means to bring Austin Tice safely home as soon as possible." The editorial board of the Sacramento Bee is backing the families. "The US military has a solemn creed: No soldier left behind," it writes. "The same should hold true for Austin Tice." A State Department rep tells McClatchy that Tice's case "has the attention of the highest levels in the US government and the administration." (Read more hostages stories.)