Missing ex-FBI agent's wife: 'I won't abandon you'

June 17, 2011 - 5:28 PM

MIAMI (AP) — The wife of a retired FBI agent who disappeared four years ago in Iran marked the couple's 37th wedding anniversary with a plaintive message Friday on the family's website, saying she won't abandon her search, but she's at a loss as to how to bring him home.

Robert Levinson disappeared in 2007 from the Iranian island of Kish. After years without any word about whether the South Florida man was alive or dead, authorities announced in March that his family had received proof in late 2010 that Levinson was alive.

The news touched off a hopeful round of fresh diplomacy, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton renewing her appeal to Iran for help.

Since then, however, there has been no word.

In a letter to her husband, posted on the family's website, Christine Levinson wrote that the couple's anniversary a few weeks ago was marked by anxiety and frustration.

"This situation has thrust me into a position in which I feel lost and ill prepared," she wrote.

"I am willing to do whatever is necessary to bring you home. At the same time I'm at a loss as to how to do that," she wrote. "These uncertain times all over the world further complicate what I, a wife and mother who has dedicated her life to her family, can do to influence change."

Christine Levinson wrote that she hopes to see her husband soon.

"I will never abandon you," she said.

U.S. diplomats and investigators have long said they believed Robert Levinson, a father of seven, was taken by Iranian government agents, though Iran has repeatedly said it had no information about him.

Levinson, 62, retired from the FBI in 1998 and became a private investigator. His family said he was investigating cigarette smuggling in early 2007 when he went to Iran.

Kish, a popular resort area, is a hotbed of smuggling and organized crime and also a free trade zone, meaning U.S. citizens do not need visas to travel there.

Levinson disappeared after a meeting with Dawud Salahuddin, an American fugitive wanted for the assassination of a former Iranian diplomat in Maryland in 1980. Salahuddin has said he last saw Levinson being questioned by Iranian officials. Levinson's distinctive signature was used to check out of his hotel, but he never made it to the airport.