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Volunteer search effort for missing FBI agent comes up empty

More than a month after his disappearance, his wife says she 'can't just give up on him.'

June 19, 2012|By Maria Hsin, maria.hsin@latimes.com
(Times Community…)

More than 30 people volunteered this past weekend to join in the ongoing search for FBI Special Agent Stephen Ivens, who disappeared from his Burbank home more than a month ago.

The volunteers were “mostly strangers who cared enough to help us out,” said his wife, Thea Ivens.

The group left McCambridge Park in Burbank at about 7:30 a.m. Saturday and split into two groups, focusing on either the Verdugo Mountains or bus routes.

On Saturday, 15 people from the Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team also helped search Mount La Tuna, La Tuna Canyon, Grotto Foot Trail, Hoftetter Trail and areas that the FBI, Burbank Police Department and other agencies didn't cover, Thea Ivens said.

The second group focused on placing fliers on bus routes and asking drivers if Stephen Ivens' photo looked familiar.

The goal, she said, was to “find clues or a body.”

Bloodhounds tracked Stephen Ivens' scent to the Verdugo Mountains last month but officials acknowledged it could have been from a previous hike and not from the day he was reported missing on May 11.

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Burbank police are being kept aware of any findings, Thea Ivens said, adding that all volunteers were asked to call police or the FBI if they found something.

After Stephen Ivens disappeared from his home in the 1700 block of Scott Road in Burbank, authorities from several law enforcement agencies launched a massive search that took on added urgency because officials said he likely had his department-issued gun and could be a danger to himself.

Authorities have long since called off active, on-the-ground searches, switching instead to a strategy of following up on leads, of which they say there have been few.

“No one is actually looking for him, physically looking,” Thea Ivens said. “How can there be leads if there is no media awareness? How can we find him if no one is looking? That's why I'm doing this.”

She and other family members called a press conference last week to make an emotional plea for the public's help in preventing the case from going cold. They are planning another search effort for Saturday.

Her mother is helping take care of her young child while she holds down a full-time job.

“I can't just give up on him,” she said.

For more information on Thea Ivens’ organized search efforts, visit their Facebook event page.

Twitter: @mariahsin

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