The discovery of a body Tuesday believed to be that of missing FBI agent Stephen Ivens marked a tragic end for his family, which had maintained an unrelenting hope that he would be found alive in the months after he disappeared.
After the massive on-the-ground search was called off in the days after he was reported missing May 11, Stephen Ivens' wife, Thea, organized family and friends for their own search efforts.
They staged their own press conferences and recently held a candlelight vigil in McCambridge Park in Burbank to raise awareness about his case.
Throughout it all, Thea Ivens was adamant that her husband would be found alive.
“When the time comes, we hope he will come back to us safely, and soon,” she told dozens of supporters at the vigil.
Almost daily, she posted on her website, “Let's Bring Steve Home.” It was set up with the intent of generating new leads in the case, but police said few leads, if any, trickled in.
As time wore on and Ivens didn't come home, the website became a sort of diary for Thea Ivens, who posted comments about how she was coping, memories of her husband, and how life had changed as a single mom raising a 2-year-old.
“I miss doing our chores together, our ‘divide and conquer' routine in the morning and in the evening when we both get home from work,” read one post.
In a post about her husband on Sunday, Thea Ivens described their family trips to visit his mother in Boston.
“One of my hopes is that if for some reason Steve couldn't get back to California, somehow he would reach out to his mom and sister, back in his hometown in Massachusetts,” she wrote.
She declined to speak to media outside her home Tuesday afternoon, but Ron Irwin, a neighbor who lives up the street, said that even though the result is “obviously unpleasant,” the speculation could finally end for the family.
He described hearing on the radio of the body's discovery.
“I went, ‘Wow.' Then I thought, ‘At least she now has closure,'” he said.
That potential for an unyielding campaign was front and center in a message Thea Ivens posted on June 29:
“However long it takes, whatever it takes, I'll never stop. I know I've said it before that there's a 50/50 chance he's out there alive. There's also a 50/50 chance that he has passed away.”