LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Authorities searched on Saturday for an FBI agent who they fear may have hiked into the foothills north of Los Angeles, armed with a handgun and bent on suicide.

Stephen Ivens, a 35-year-old special agent who works in national security for the FBI's office in Los Angeles, was reported missing on Friday morning by his family. He was last seen on Thursday evening.

Investigators say they have found no evidence of a crime in Ivens' disappearance and suspect the avid hiker and runner left his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Burbank on foot headed into the rugged Verdugo Mountains.

Steve Gomez, an FBI special agent, said Ivens' gun was not found at his home after he left, suggesting that he had taken it with him.

"There is no history of violence associated with Agent Ivens and the investigation has uncovered no evidence of foul play," Gomez told a news conference on Saturday afternoon.

"He was known to have been distraught and investigators believe he may be suicidal," Gomez said.

Authorities did not say what they believed was troubling Ivens, who has a wife and young son.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Greg McCune and Peter Cooney)