By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Authorities investigating human remains found in the foothills north of Los Angeles said on Tuesday they likely belonged to an FBI agent who went missing in May, carrying his handgun and possibly bent on suicide.
Los Angeles County Coroner's medical examiners were working to formally establish if the body was that of FBI Special Agent Steven Ivens, 35, who was last seen leaving his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Burbank on May 10.
"We did recover a firearm that belonged to Steven Ivens and the clothing is consistent, that's why a decision was made to notify the family," Burbank Police Sergeant Darin Ryburn said.
Two hikers walking on a fire road in the foothills near Ivens' home came across the remains in nearby dense shrubbery on Monday evening after smelling a suspicious odor, Ryburn said.
"We're pretty sure it's him, we just have to wait because the coroner is the only one who can officially (make that determination)," Ryburn said.
The body was discovered about three-quarters of a mile from Ivens' home, he said. It appeared to have been there for some time and not placed there or moved from another location. Police declined to comment on the likely cause of death, saying that was a determination to be made by coroner's investigators.
At the time Ivens was reported missing in May, authorities who launched an exhaustive search said he was distraught and possibly suicidal.
The avid hiker and runner was thought to have left his home on foot, heading into the nearby foothills of the rugged Verdugo Mountains. Authorities have not said what they believe was troubling Ivens, who has a wife and young son.
A spokeswoman for the FBI's Los Angeles office, where Ivens worked in national security, could not immediately be reached for comment.
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston)