ESTES PARK, Colo. — The family of 20-year-old Micah Tice, the United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School student missing on Longs Peak near Estes Park, Colorado, criticized the National Park Service during a Friday evening press conference.
Benjamin Tice claims that officials with Rocky Mountain National Park, which has suspended the search for the 20-year-old man missing for two weeks in wintry weather, have not done enough to find his son.
“Limited searches were conducted and directed by the National Park Service and their search and rescue from November 27 to December 3,” Benjamin Tice said. “A total of six days of boots on the ground.”
Micah Tice has been missing for nearly two weeks. He was last seen hiking on Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park on November 24. Rangers found Micah Tice's vehicle at the Longs Peak trailhead the afternoon of November 26.
Watch the press conference in the video player below:
Benjamin Tice believes his son could have sought shelter in an area the National Park Service has not 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,” he said.
Efforts to locate the missing hiker began on Tuesday, November 27, three days after Micah Tice was last seen. Search resources have included ground crews, trained dogs and helicopters. However, Benjamin Tice said his family has been denied access to additional resources in the search for their son.
“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 National Park Service had sufficient resources,“ he said.
In a statement to KMGH, Kyle Patterson, the public affairs officer for Rocky Mountain National Park, detailed the park's efforts in locating the cadet.
"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," Patterson wrote.
Patterson said the park used military assets during the days-long search for Micah, including the mountaineering club from United States Air Force Academy. Patterson said the park was not contacted by Fort Carson to provide assistance.
During the Friday press conference, Benjamin Tice pleaded for help from state and federal officials, including President Donald Trump.
“President Trump, we plead for your help," Benjamin Tice said. "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."
Friends of the family and other experienced hikers plan to search the area again this weekend. They say activity from Micah Tice’s cellphone was recorded November 25 around 10,000 feet, the elevation where the weekend search will focus on.
The National Park Service suspended their search Tuesday. Officials say they could resume if conditions are favorable.