Candlelight vigil held in Burbank for missing FBI agent
Dozens of Burbank residents gathered at McCambridge Park this week to pray for the safe return of FBI special agent Stephen Ivens, who was reported missing two months ago.
The park is not far from the Ivens' home in the 1700 block of Scott Road, where the 36-year-old agent who specialized in national security was last seen on May 10. Ivens was thought to be despondent and possibly suicidal, police said at the time.
“This is familiar ground for us,” his wife, Thea Ivens, said before Wednesday’s prayer vigil began. “This is one of the places he jogged around. He usually brings [our son] Kyle here to play. This is a meaningful place for us.”
The group formed a circle around two tables that displayed candles and a photo of Stephen Ivens. A bag containing 60 monarch butterflies — one for each day since the agent was reported missing — was placed on one of the tables.
Releasing the butterflies was a nod to what happened eight years ago at the couple’s wedding.
“[The butterflies] were a symbol of a new beginning and a new life,” Thea Ivens said after candles were lighted and the group took turns reading Bible passages from the book of Psalms. “It is my promise to him that this can still be a new beginning, a new chapter.
“When the time comes, we hope he will come back to us safely, and soon.”
The gathering marked the third time in two months Ivens' family has appealed directly to the public in an effort to keep awareness of the case alive.
Authorities from several law enforcement agencies initially launched a massive search for Ivens that included 100 FBI agents. Ivens, an avid hiker who is the father of a 1-year-old son, was believed to be carrying his handgun and police said he could be a danger to himself.
Thea Ivens has said her husband had been suffering from depression.
The FBI and Burbank police have since stopped actively searching for Ivens, relying instead on tips from the public, which they say have all but dried up.
Ivens is described as being 6 foot 1, 140 to 150 pounds, with brown eyes, grayish-brown hair and eyeglasses.
It is believed he left his home on foot and may be wearing dark blue jeans, blue and gray Reebok shoes, a two-tone crucifix necklace and a blue sports watch, according to family.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said in an email that there is “no indication that Steve's disappearance was related to his work; however, we are exploring all avenues to find him.”
Meanwhile, Burbank police Sgt. Darin Ryburn said the department maintains an open line of communication with Thea Ivens and the group assisting her. Beyond that, “there is no new information to report at this time,” he said.
— Maria Hsin