The body of James Kim, the CNET editor who left his family to search for help after they were stranded in the Oregon mountains, was found on Wednesday, ending a long and emotional ordeal that began on November 25. He was 35.
Kim and his family were stranded in deep snow while driving on a Thanksgiving trip in the Oregon woods. They were on their way from the Portland area to San Francisco when they became lost in a mountainous area near Grant’s Pass, Oregon.
Kim would set out on foot on December 2, telling his wife Kati he would be gone for four hours in order to get help. He never returned. Kati Kim was rescued two days later when a helicopter in the search effort flew overhead and she waved an umbrella covered with reflective tape. As news of the family’s survival efforts emerged following the rescue, hope remained that James’s resourcefulness would help him survive.
After the family became stranded, they stayed warm by the heat in the car. When it ran out of gas, they burned its tires to stay warm. Kati was able to feed her two young children Sabine, age 7 months, and Penelope, age 4 by nursing them, thus extending their limited food supplies.
The search for James continued until he was found at the foot of the Big Windy Creek drainage, a half-mile from the Rogue River. Along the way, he had shed articles of clothing and pieces of a map, as if leaving a trail, according to an Associated Press report.
Josephine County Undersheriff Brian Anderson announced the discovery of the body today, nearly breaking down in the process. “He was very motivated,” Anderson said at a televised press conference. “We were having trouble in there. He traveled a long distance.”
In a statement, Neil Ashe, CEO of CNET Networks, thanked all who participated in the search and for the support for James and his family. “This has been an incredibly heart wrenching experience for all involved. I know that I speak for everyone here at CNET Networks when I say that James Kim was a hero. We will miss him greatly. We are thankful that Kati, Penelope and Sabine are well and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Friends of the family had been following the search efforts on a Web page they set up. “If you would like to forward on words of hope and encouragement to the Kim and Fleming families please send a note to [email protected] and we will gather them up to pass on. We appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers and will pass along emails to the Kim and Fleming families,” the site said.
According to a posting on CNET.com, the Kim family has asked that it not be contacted, and that flowers and donations not be sent at this time.
James Kim was a senior editor with CNET, where he covered digital audio products. He also co-hosted a weekly video podcast. Prior to joining CNET, he was an on-air personality for TechTV, the defunct technology news cable television network.
One of his co-workers at TechTV, John Gartner, now a freelance journalist living in the Portland area, offered this in memory of Kim: “James had great energy and loved to share his passion for technology by helping people to understand how things worked. His warmth and intelligence earned him the respect of his peers.”