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Autopsy: San Diego exchange student death was accidental

A preliminary autopsy report conducted in Spain shows that San Diego exchange student Austin Bice's death was an accident.

March 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The initial investigation into the death of a Southern California exchange student suggests it was an accident.

A preliminary autopsy report conducted in Spain shows that 22-year-old Austin Bice, of Carlsbad, died of heart failure. Bice's body was found Tuesday in Madrid's Manzanares River, near a nightclub where he was last seen Feb. 26.

The report did not specify whether Bice drowned, but drowning can cause heart failure. Authorities are waiting for the results of forensic tests before announcing an official cause of death.

Bice, a former San Diego State University football player, was studying international business at Carlos III University and had been in Spain since January. Roommates had reported him missing after he failed to return home following a night out with friends.

Bice's father, Larry Bice, said his son's friends said he had a few drinks but did not indicate he was drunk when they last saw him outside the club. Bice never went into the club and instead said he was going to walk home, about a 45-minute trek in an area that appeared to be safe.

Bice's father said Wednesday that he has not ruled out foul play. He also said he cannot understand how his son, who was a good swimmer, would have fallen into the river and drowned.

The Associated Press contributed to this story