Thea Ivens releases a net of Monarch butterflies during a prayer vigil for missing FBI agent Stephen Ivens at McCambridge Park in Burbank on Wednesday, July 11, 2012.

Thea Ivens releases a net of Monarch butterflies during a prayer vigil for missing FBI agent Stephen Ivens at McCambridge Park in Burbank on Wednesday, July 11, 2012. (Tim Berger/Staff photographer / July 31, 2012)

The discovery of missing FBI agent Stephen Ivens' body in the foothills above Burbank marks a tragic end for his family, which had maintained an unrelenting hope that he would be found alive months after he was reported missing.

While Los Angeles County coroner officials continued to investigate the cause of death, Burbank police Sgt. Darin Ryburn said a weapon had been recovered near the body, which was found Monday night in the 3600 block of Scott Road.

After the massive on-the-ground search was called off in favor of following up on leads from the public, Stephen Ivens’ wife, Thea, organized family and friends for their own search efforts. They also recently held a candle light vigil to raise awareness about his case.

Throughout it all, Thea Ivens was adamant that her husband would be found alive.

“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 said at a search organized by family and friends in June. “I can't just give up on him.”

In addition to the ground searches, Thea Ivens maintained an active presence online, posting regularly to a website called “Let’s Bring Steve Home,” which was devoted to generating new leads in the case.

She also opened up about her struggles in raising a young child without him.

She last wrote about her husband on Sunday, describing 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.

-- Jason Wells and Veronica Rocha, Times Community News

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