Two hikers found a body in the foothills above Burbank on Monday night believed to be that of FBI Special Agent Stephen Ivens, reported missing more than two months ago.
The body was found in a wooded area near the 3600 block of Scott Road after the hikers noticed a foul smell, police said.
“Every indication is that he’s been there from the first day,” Burbank Police Sgt. Darin Ryburn said. Ivens’ gun was also recovered near his body, Ryburn added.
The cause of death had yet to be determined Tuesday by Los Angeles County coroner’s officials, who were also working to officially confirm that the body is Ivens’. Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winters said that due to the state of decomposition, authorities would use dental records and other tests to verify the identity.
After Ivens was reported missing May 11, Burbank saw the most extensive search in its history. At the time, authorities warned he had his department-issued gun and may have been despondent.
A 40-member search-and-rescue team from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department joined about a dozen Burbank police officers and 100 FBI agents.
Teams of searchers continued to use dogs and helicopters to comb the Verdugo hills for several more days, but to no avail. Since then, officials had been relying on leads from the public.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller called the discovery “a sad day, not only for the Ivens family, but for law enforcement as well.”
The area where the body was discovered is not far from Ivens’ home in the 1700 block of Scott Road, where the 36-year-old agent was last seen. The body was near a cement path about 300 feet behind a small chapel in an upper parking lot of St. Francis Xavier School, Ryburn said.
By Tuesday afternoon, the only signs police or investigators had been in the area behind the school was a dangling piece of yellow crime scene tape attached to the parking lot fence.
Stephen Ivens’ wife, Thea, declined to speak to reporters outside her home Tuesday afternoon.
She and family friends had been steadfast in their assertions that Stephen Ivens was alive. They had organized searches, set up a Facebook page and website, and staged events to keep the case in the public eye.