Christine Levinson doesn't like to do interviews. She's a bit shy and not much of a public speaker, and isn't comfortable in front of the cameras, but she still sat down with me this morning because her husband has been missing since last March and she's desperate for help.
"Do you truly believe Bob is still alive?" I asked her. "Yes I do," was her emphatic response.
Her husband Robert Levinson vanished the day before his 59th birthday on the Iranian island of Kish. He spent nearly 30 years as an agent with the DEA and FBI, but had been retired from the bureau for 10 years, and was handling private investigations. He was reportedly working a cigarette smuggling case when he flew to Kish from Dubai. He may have met with someone there and the two may have been abducted and questioned. Some reports suggest the other man was released but Levinson was not.
After months of struggling to get a Visa, Christine traveled to Iran in December with her sister and eldest son, and went to the hotel where her husband was last seen. The manager showed her Bob's signature in the register, confirming he checked in and checked out. She went to the airport where she was shown the flight manifests, confirming he flew in but never flew out. Beyond that, she didn't get much help. Her requests for meetings with the president and supreme leader went nowhere, and there were no revelations regarding what happened last March.
"We don't know if he made it to the airport. We know he did not get on to a plane. We don't know what happened between the hotel and the airport. They promised to investigate," she told me.
"They promised to investigate, they promised to help but they didn't give you anything?" I asked.
"No, they did not give us any answers."
"No answers, no information. Do you believe they know more than they're telling?" I asked about the Iranian government.
"I have no idea," she says, but reassured me she is far from losing hope. “I really believe the people of Iran can help me find my husband. I do believe he's alive. I have no reason to doubt that."
"Were you disappointed?"
"Of course," she told me. "I was hoping for a Christmas miracle, that I'd bring him home and that didn't happen, and I never expected I'd have to face the possibility of the anniversary of his disappearance. It's very discouraging. Very discouraging."
"But you're not giving up?"
"No, of course not. I know that I'm going to find my husband and it's just a matter of when."
"What are you going to do when you find him?" I asked.
"Hug him, hold on to him," she said with a slight smile. "My children have said he's not allowed to go anywhere, he's just gonna have to stay in the house."
Levinson is a big guy, 6-foot-4-inch tall and more than 225 pounds, and should've stood out in Kish, which attracts a large number of foreign tourists. Christine believes someone saw something that could help end her sad and lonely mission. She doesn't believe he ran off, saying his last words were: "I love you. I'll talk to you in 24 hours."
If you have any information, Christine hopes you'll contact her through the Web site she created, helpboblevinson.com.
"Every day is harder," she admits. "The closer it gets to the anniversary of his disappearance, the more difficult it gets. I try to have my children focus one day at a time and I've always said to them 'make your father proud,’ so when he comes home we can just move forward and he doesn't have to fix anything."
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Rick Leventhal is a New York based reporter for FOX News Channel.
Rick Leventhal currently serves as New York-based senior correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network as a correspondent in 1997.