James Kim’s body found in Rogue River Wilderness.

The comments section has a lot more about this story.

James Kim is not alive. My sincere condolences go out to his wife and children. I know their safety was his top concern and he’d be so glad to know they made it out of the wilderness safely. Based on the best info I have today from a TV interview with the local pilot who found Kati and the kids it was James’ footprints down the road that he left on Saturday that initially alerted the pilot to the approximate location of the car. In my book, that was a heroic walk.I know the condolences, thoughts, and prayers of people all over the world are going out to the family of James Kim.

Kim Family Website

A lot of people are asking me a lot of questions here in the comments section and I’ll try to answer them when I know more. I’ve only had limited contact with some searchers and Scott, who worked very hard on a very noble effort to help coordinate information and many volunteers who were involved in the “unofficial” search. He was a close friend of the Kim’s and I think this must be a very difficult time for everybody closely involved with them. We should all hope to have such sincere and hard working friends, family, and rescue workers in the event of our own personal misfortune.

Oregonlive has a detailed account of the confusion surrounding the search effort.

KGW and Oregon Live have more coverage of the Kim Family story which has now captivated many people all over the world. However as local info comes in I’m alarmed by how it appears some big news places are misreporting important facts. Key story items to clarify 1) James Kim was dead when he was found. MSNBC initially suggested he was left overnight in the woods because searchers could not reach him. This is almost certainly false. 2) It remains unclear exactly when James died. Coroner suggests it was about two days which would have been Sunday night or Monday morning and probably before the ground search began. 3) The pilot that found Kati and Kids was a local resident who owned his own chopper and was not associated with the search directly. He stated on TV that he was very familiar with the area and felt for “the kids”.

Here is a link to a good series of images from another site showing the Rogue River area near Black Bar Lodge where the Kims were finally found but I understand ONLY FIRST IMAGE has correct car location. The initial reports of car location were wrong.

Another image showing the location and James’ walk – thanks Greg.

(I’ve removed an image I had here which did not have correct car location. For many days the correct location of the car and therefore the length of the walk by James Kim was reported incorrectly.)

The comments section has a lot more about this story. A LOT more!

James Kim Update: 11 am Wednesday

Family Website | CNET Updates Page

I’m very sorry to report James Kim was found dead in the Windy Creek area of the Rogue River at about Noon today.

— earlier — 

Path of clues left by James Kim

It now appears the things searchers are finding are clues left by James Kim. I wildly speculate that he was trying to send any searchers from the river side UP towards the car rather than *down* to him, but this is guessing. It is consistent with the idea that he was heading to the Rogue River as the only navigation point he might have understood in that region (he was headed to a lodge downriver and this is a huge river – Kim would have known that if he made it to the Rogue he could pick his way out of the woods eventually – not true if you follow the roads which are a labyrinth of interconnections in that Bear Camp location)

This in from the comments at family site. IKONOS will be retasked to provide high resolution images of search area which will be made available via ftp for analysis. It appears they’ll be releasing it to the public for review around 1-2 pm (based on 11:21 flyover + 98 minutes until download + short preview before they upload to ftp site. They’ll need some mirrors for this as the number of downloads will be huge as people try to review the data. Bad news is that fog was in the area this morning. It’s burned off here in Talent (about 75 miles from search area) but the Rogue River area is deep canyons and may not have been clear.

Just to let you know that our satellite will be imaging about 2000 sq
km over the James Kim search area in south west Oregon (Josephine
County) at 11:22:01 am (Pacific Time) today (Dec 6, 2006). IKONOS will
be moving along a north to south track coming from Canada across
Washington and then over Oregon. It’s traveling at 17,000 mph or about 4
miles per second. The IKONOS satellite has been instructed to image the
search area as it passes over Oregon. The imagery will be recorded in
the memory of the satellite as it continues its travels over the Pacific
and South Pacific, then under the South Pole and up the ‘dark side’ of
the Earth. When IKONOS comes up over the northern polar region the
imagery will be down linked into a 30′ foot in diameter receiving
antennae at our ground station in Fairbanks, Alaska. It takes less than
98 minutes to travel this entire distance. Once the imagery is down
linked into our ground station in Fairbanks, the data is sent over a
high-speed fiber optic line to Denver, Colorado where the imagery will
be processed. Once we check it out for quality and cloud cover, then we
will make it available via ftp site…

Merlin, Oregon:

Brian Anderson, Sheriff. Greg Hastings (Oregon State Police). Mike Winters, Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office

New Information:
Tuesday searcher Dave Penkava was injured on ATV. His condition is OK after shoulder injury. He’d plunged into a (ravine?).

Wilsonville Chamber believes they did provide a map and highlighted certain routes for the Kims. [ I think Bear Camp route was NOT one of those highlighted!]

Care packages are getting dropped in that Windy Creek Drainage. [ last night a searcher on TV said the forest is so dense they could not be seen when a chopper was directly overhead – though to me this storongly indicates James Kim would have hiked down to the river rather than stay up in the invisible drainage area]

I lost the feed from CNET. Tried KGW’s feed but they are showing the old feed from yesterday’s conference as “live”.

Notes courtesy of Tim in comments:

Also notable from the conference:

1. Cell tower is going up in the area (today?) that should help with search coordination. Edge wireless is setting up the tower and has provided SAR crew with approx 30 phones.

2. Ground teams are in and evaluating entry points.

3. Hopefully the fog doesn’t last so they can get in the air soon.

Kim Search Update 8:30 am Tuesday

Family Website
CNET Updates Page

There is little new to report here in Southern Oregon as the search for James Kim continues in the Rogue River Wilderness in the Big Windy Creek Drainage just south of the Rogue River. Searchers found James’ pants yesterday and now there are reports of finding a backpack and a “mystery object” not yet identified by police who said they wanted the object in hand before speculating. Kati and Kids were found Monday and are healthy and safe. Local news said fresh search teams are in the area.

I understand they’ll do another 10am? news briefing in Merlin this morning (Wednesday).  I’ll try to blog that as soon as I listen to it.

CNET reports that a satellite will be retasked to aid in search. I recommend people post at CNET that they should set up a site to have people volunteer to review the high resolution imagery and post results at a forum online. This could speed up the analysis to a few hours given that millions of people – many with technical expertise – are now following this story online.


James Kim search continues. Tuesday 11:00 pm update

Family and Friends Website

Cnet update

latest updates from this blog 

11pm local news reports James is still missing with search scaled down for the night though I understand thermal equipped helicopter is flying the area.

I think the 5 mile search area assumes James got stuck following the Big Windy Creek drainage down to the river. I don’t know why they assume he did not make it to the River and out from there but I’m unfamiliar with that specific area’s terrain which may be so steep he could not have made it out and up or downriver from Big Windy.
Darkness has fallen here in Southern Oregon and James Kim is still missing in the Rogue River Wilderness west of Merlin and Galice, Oregon. Approximately 100 searchers combed the drainage of Big Windy Creek Area today. A pair of pants was found near the creek. Reports say he had taken an extra pair of pants and may have left these as a sign. Another object was sited but police won’t identify it until they have it in hand.

Police indicated they did not know why he walked into the drainage and seemed confused about this but I’d suggest clearly he was looking for Rogue River which would for James be the only key navigation feature in the area. I certainly hope they search the Rogue River banks carefully, especially downriver at least to Half Moon Bar Lodge (closed but caretakers there and he would not have likely passed this point).

Map of the Wild Section of the Rogue River

Google Map of the Rogue River Area where James Kim is expected to be.

Flash Alerts from Oregon State Police – note photo links at bottom of post

This helicopter report from KGW news:

05:50 PM PST on Tuesday, December 5, 2006

By FRANK MUNGEAM, kgw.com Staff A helicopter with the Oregon Army National Guard was scheduled to continue searching Tuesday night for James Kim, missing since Thanksgiving weekend in Southern Oregon.

An OH-58 Kiowa helicopter equipped with the Forward Looking Infrared System planned to scour the mountainous area overnight.

A second aircraft, a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, was en route to its standby location at the Medford Airport, according to ONG spokesperson Kay Fristad. The Blackhawk is a medevac helicopter used for rescue operations and is equipped with a crew that includes flight medics, crew chief and two pilots. According to Fristad, the team is highly skilled in hoist operations, patient stabilization, and transport.

Crews are camped out waiting for daybreak.

My current thinking is that it’s very important to search the south bank of the river all the way down to Half Moon Bar Lodge. It seems logical to me that he would have followed the river downriver, knowing it would eventually lead to safety. In fact the original Gold Beach destination of the Kims was TuTuTun Lodge which is right on the Rogue river (though many days from Windy Creek, but James would not have known how far upriver he was).

I called the Half Moon Bar Lodge folks a few hours ago and learned that they are closed but there are caretakers there, so if James made it that far we’d have heard. Paradise lodge is on the other side of the river. A bad scenario is that he saw that lodge and tried to cross over the river which would be very dangerous. This is a wilderness area and there are no residences or even shelters that I know of between Black Bar Lodge (near Windy Creek but which presumably he missed) and Half Moon Bar, a distance of about 20 miles by river.

James Kim Update as of 3:30 pm Tuesday.

Family and Friends Website

I’m reviewing news items now. James Kim is still missing and I understand they think he’s still in the Big Windy Creek Drainage area near Horseshoe Bend / Black Bar of the Rogue River in the Rogue River Wilderness area west of Galice, Oregon.

Reports here at KGW Northwest news and here at Medford Mail Tribune say searchers found a pair of James’ pants today and continue to track him, thinking he’s probably within 5 miles of where he left the car and family on Saturday morning to find help.

I’m confused at why searchers think he did not make it farther than five miles. Logically if he got to the Rogue River he might have continued along the south bank, knowing that the coast was 2-3 days of (difficult) hiking downriver and would have kept as fast a pace as possible to stay warm. He told Kati he’d return to the car but may have changed that plan realizing that if he’d be maximizing the chance of finding them by trying to hike out of the woods. Riskier for him but giving two chances to be found rather than just one.

There’s a trail on the north bank of the River but not the south bank, and hopefully he would not have tried to cross or run the river using a makeshift raft since there are several dangerous rapids downriver from here.

If James has made it farther than they think, and did stay on the So bank of the River to navigate, he’d probably see the Paradise Lodge which is down near Blossom Bar Rapids on the other side of the River but clearly visible from the south bank. A few miles (I think) down from there on the south bank is Half Moon Bar lodge. With no word yet I’m calling these lodges now to make sure they are fully aware of the situation.

James Kim still missing as of 10 am Tuesday Morning

Kim Family Website is here

With Kati Kim and Children safe at a Grants Pass hospital the search has intensified for James Kim who is likely located in the Windy Creek Drainage south of the Rogue River in Southern Oregon. He left the Kim Family car on Saturday – some reports say he was wearing snowshoes – at 7:45am seeking help and was to return that day, but did not return. It’s reported that he was warmly dressed and had a lighter. Trackers followed his steps two miles from the car where he headed into the Windy Creek Drainage, a large area south of the Rogue River’s “Horseshoe Bend”. These areas up around the Rogue generally make for slow hiking so we can hope that James will be able to be tracked more easily.

The temperatures up there have been about 20s at night and 40’s in the daytime I think, though the news reported last night that the temps vary with elevation and actually it would be warmer up on the ridges in that area than in the valleys.

Tracking dogs and a National Guard heat seeking helicopter should be on the scene by now.

From the family website this morning:
12/5/06 – 7:30am
– We’re up and hoping for good news, anxiously awaiting the success of the search and rescue team. I was able to speak with Kati briefly last night and she is in good spirits, worried and waiting, but joking with me in only the way that Kati can. The girls are in great shape. The Kim and Fleming’s primary concern now is to reunite the family. Kati’s mother, father and brother should be travelling to Oregon today to be with the family. I spoke off camera with one of the interviewers yesterday and we talked about how easy it is sometimes to be cynical in life, but how something like this really shows the true heart of people everywhere. There were so many times these few days where emails from people out there have had us crying and tearing up because of the sheer amount of love expressed – in many cases for a family they don’t even know. It has really kept us going and *IS* keeping us going. Thank you again for all of the support and to all of the people up in Oregon finding James right now.

12/4/06 – 11:30pm – Photos from our volunteer Becky Worley earlier today. Search HelicopterSearch and Rescue preparing for night searching.

KGW Report

Map of James Kim’s probable location.

More and the latest news from this blog is here

Kim Family Website

Update: As of 11 pm Monday local news is reporting that James Kim is still missing. Searches will continue through the night for him. They will release no new information until 10am tomorrow.

Statement from Three Rivers Community Hospital Regarding Kati Kim Family – 12/04/06
As of 7:15 p.m., on December 4, 2006, Three Rivers Community Hospital can confirm that Kati kim and her children, Penelope and Sabine, are in good condition. Sabine Kim is being kept overnight for observation. Ms. Kim and her older daughter will be staying at the hospital with Sabine. At this point, the Kim family wishes not to be interviewed – they have no further information to share this evening. Ms. Kim’s emphasis is on the search and rescue team and their attempt to find her husband.

Here is a link to a Google map of James Kim’s most likely current location, the Big Windy Creek Drainage south of the Rogue River and north of the BLM road to Agness. Police reported today at 5:15pm that they believe he walked into the Windy Creek area after leaving his car 7:45 am on Saturday morning, seeking help. He was supposed to return later in the day according to reports of comments by Kati.

Click on “hybrid” and note the small blue line at top which is the Rogue River. Note the bend in the river, which is “Horseshoe Bend”. Big Windy Creek comes into the Rogue River south of Horseshoe Bend by I think a mile or so. James would NOT likely have attempted to cross the Rogue River but may have used it to navigate. The river flows west there.

This is along the “Wild” Section of the Rogue River. Even in summer this is accessible only by raft or airplane. Black Bar Lodge is in that area but I think it’s closed now.

Trackers will work 24 hours a day to find him now, so there is reason to be optimistic since he was warmly dressed and reports say he had a lighter with him.

5pm Update – Kati and kids in hospital in “good” condition. James still missing. 24 hour search for James continues.

[Update Dec 6.   James Kim was found dead in the Windy Creek Drainage of the Rogue River Wilderness.   Updates here]

Kim Family Site

Merlin, Oregon 5:15pm Monday December 4:

News conference notes:

Kati and kids in hospital in “good condition” (he also said they are in “great condition” James is still missing.

Carson Helicopter found them. Edge Wireless guy’s computer model helped concentrate the search in the correct area.

Units now tracking Mr. Kim’s footprints into the Windy Creek Drainage area.

2 USFS officers will track footprints throughout the night.
“They’ll be out there all night and will work 24/7 until we bring him home”.

Windy Creek Drainage area is James’ probable location. National Guard Helicopter on the way. More searchers headed to area. Dog teams will arrive in the morning as will river searchers.

James is wearing jeans, tennis shoes, sweater and jacket and may have a couple of lighters and possibly a camera strobe.

Family found today in “very good shape”. They had minor provisions, ran car at night to stay warm. Started to burn tires to stay warm. Don’t know if they ran off road. Were not on main road. James left 7:45 Saturday Morning, up the road they came down. At some point he went over into Big Windy Creek Drainage where they hope to find him soon.

Kati and kids may have to spend the night as a precaution, but according to the officer speaking now they are in “great shape”. Cell phone info was critical to the find. “Searchers did a fantastic job”.

Kati Kim and children safe, James still missing

GREAT NEWS from the  Kim Family website:

12/4/06 – 3:30pm – We are ecstatic here, but still very concerned for James Kim – *please* do not stop praying for and hoping for James. We are very confident that the searchers will find James! Please keep the good thoughts coming! -scott

12/4/06 – 3:15pm – Kati Kim and her two girls have been found, they are being helicoptered out to a hospital. James Kim went out on foot two days ago and the Search and Rescue team are now tracking him and hope to find him soon.

This posted at family site, still not at Oregon Police Department official site but appears to be a legitimate update from the Police.

News Release from: Oregon State Police
Posted: December 4th, 2006 3:14 PM

On December 4, 2006 at approximately 1:45 p.m., Search & Rescue
officials were notified that a vehicle and a female waving an umbrella were
spotted by a helicopter search crew near the Rogue River in the area of
Bear Camp Viewpoint off Bear Camp Road. This location is near the Curry
/ Josephine County line in Josephine County.

The helicopter was able to land and verified that the mother and two
children were alive. The father reportedly was not with the vehicle.
Additional search crews and resources are being diverted to the area to
help try and locate the father.

The condition of the mother and children is not available but reports
are encouraging. They were flown to a separate location from where they
will be transported to a local hospital to be evaluated for treatment.

No further details are being released at this time.

A second media briefing will tentatively be held at 5:00 p.m. in Merlin
at the Josephine County Search & Rescue Headquarters.

Kim Family Search summary

Family help website is here:
Tip Line – (800) 452-7888
Outside of Oregon
503-375-3555 and 503-731-3030

[MOM and Kids are SAFE.   Looking for James in Bear Camp area as of 3pm Monday]

1:12 pm Monday, December 4, 2006.
Even here in Southern Oregon the news has been spotty on the search for the Kim family, which based on noon report at the family website now appears to be focusing on the area around Galice and Glendale in the mountains just east of Interstate 5. A news conference is scheduled for 3pm today in Merlin, Oregon.

A treacherous route through that area appears on many maps as a “shortcut” to the Kim’s Saturday night destination of TuTuTun lodge on the North Bank Road of Gold Beach, Oregon. Google map of the area here.

At 1:30 am on Saturday a cell phone tower with a range of 26 miles, in Glendale Oregon, recorded a “ping” from the Kim’s phone. This is very consistent with them being lost in between the Galice and Glendale area. Also consistent with the notion that the Kim’s tried to take the Merlin to Galice to Agness to Gold Beach route but were lost in logging roads.

The area is large and very remote, and even the main route through (Galice to Agness to Gold Beach) gets very little traffic and is NOT clear much of the winter. This main route was searched last week but my understanding is that now they are focusing on the areas north and West of Galice over to Glendale. The Stivers family was lost in this same area in March of 2006. They were rescued but only after walking part of the way out since searchers had underestimated how far they’d gone down a logging road.

Volunteering: Keep checking the family website for news but it appears to me at this time that authorities are not encouraging people to go to the Galice area to help search, worried that there could be more people lost.

An FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) has been set up at the Kim Family Site, though they say they may not be able to keep it updated too often. I heard from them that they are trying to coordinate a lot of activity over there.

The family site also has a Guest Book section to offer support to the family.

Oregon State Police News Bulletins

I’ll continue to post news here as I get it.