A San Francisco man who got stranded in the snowy wilderness with his family nearly two weeks ago was found dead Wednesday in a mountain creek, authorities said.
James Kim’s body was discovered in Oregon’s snowy Coast Range two days after his wife and two daughters were rescued from their car, stuck on a remote road. Kim had set out on foot over the weekend to find help for his family.
Ground crews and helicopters had been searching the area for Kim for days.
Kim, 35, was a senior editor for the technology media company CNET Networks Inc. He and his family had been missing since Nov. 25.
A pair of pants Kim had been wearing was found in the wilderness on Tuesday, raising fears that he had become delirious from the cold.
Searchers were emotional as they broke the news at temporary headquarters near the mountain road the Kim family took as they headed home to San Francisco from a holiday trip to the Pacific Northwest.
Earlier, Kati Kim told officers they were traveling south from Portland on Interstate 5 and missed the turnoff to a state highway, Oregon 42, that leads through the Coast Range to Gold Beach, where they planned to stay at a resort.
Officers said the couple used a map to choose the road they were on. “They got the map out – a regular highway map – that showed the route,” Anderson said.
However, it wasn’t clear whose map the couple used. The 2005-2007 state highway map distributed by the Oregon Department of Transportation has a warning in red print, inside a red box: “This route closed in winter.” A Rand-McNally map did not have a similar warning.
On Monday, searchers in a private helicopter hired by the family spotted Kati Kim, 30, and daughters Penelope, 4, and Sabine, 7 months. They were released from a hospital in Grants Pass on Tuesday.
After leaving Portland on Interstate 5, search leaders said, the couple missed a turnoff that leads to the coast and took a wrong turn on a twisty mountain road they chose as an alternative.
Stuck, 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 her children.
The area’s complicated road network is commonly used by whitewater rafters on the Rogue River or as a shortcut to the coast in the summer, but it is not plowed in the winter.