Missing father found dead

Published 5:36 pm Thursday, December 7, 2006

For days, James Kim’s family wondered what happened to him after he ventured into the wilderness, seeking help for his wife and two young daughters after the family became stranded in their car on a lonely mountain road.

On Thursday, they may receive some of the sad answers. Authorities planned to announce the results of an autopsy, a day after the discovery of Kim’s body a mile from the car.

A search helicopter hired by the Kim family spotted the body at midday Wednesday about a mile from where Kim set out two days after his wife and two daughters were rescued from the vehicle, stuck on a remote road.

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Investigators believe he traveled about eight miles in total, and said there was no way he could have reached the car directly from where he was found.

Kim’s body was found at the foot of the Big Windy Creek drainage, a half-mile from the Rogue River, where ground crews and helicopters had been searching for days.

A tearful Josephine County Undersheriff Brian Anderson announced the discovery of the body, his voice breaking at one point.

“He was very motivated,” Anderson said. “We were having trouble in there. He traveled a long distance.”

He said he had few details about Kim’s condition or the immediate area where he was found.

Earlier in the day, searchers said they had uncovered clues that suggested Kim had shed clothing and arranged it to give searchers clues to his whereabouts. They had planned to drop rescue packages with clothing, emergency gear and provisions.

Kim, 35, was a senior editor for the technology media company CNET Networks Inc. He and his family had been missing since Nov. 25. They were heading home to San Francisco after a family vacation in the Pacific Northwest.

Kim’s wife, Kati, 30, and their daughters Penelope, 4, and Sabine, 7 months, were rescued Monday as they were leaving their car to find help themelves. She told officers that the couple made a wrong turn and became stuck in the snow nearly two weeks before. They used their car heater until they ran out of gas, then burned tires to stay warm and attract attention. With only a few jars of baby food and limited supplies, Kati Kim nursed both children.

The key to finding them, police said, was a “ping” from one of the family’s cell phones that helped narrow down their location.

Roads in the area are often not plowed in the winter and can become impassable.