The search for a California man lost in the Oregon woods, has ended in heartbreak.
Searchers found the body of 35-year-old James Kim this afternoon, 11 days after he went missing. Kim’s wife and two daughters were rescued Dec. 4, 2006, and since then, authorities had been racing against time to save the husband and father.
After days of searching for James Kim, rescuers spotted the fully-clothed body of Kim face down in the snow, in a remote area of the Oregon wilderness.
“At 12:03 hours today the body of James Kim was located in the Big Windy Creek,” said Brian Anderson, Josephine County sheriff.
Kim’s death comes as a blow to rescuers who had followed his footprints to a remote creek partially bordered by sheer cliffs. They had found a trail of clothing left by him: shirts, a sock, a girl’s skirt, a pair of pants and not too far away, his body.
“Mr. Kim was located down in the area where the search activity was occurring,” said Lt. Greg Hastings, with the Oregon State Police. The area was difficult to reach and with the thick growth. Authorities knew Kim would be hard to spot.
Kim, his wife and two daughters took a wrong turn and were trapped for more than a week in their car on a remote mountain road. On Dec. 2, 2006, he left looking for help and while he eventually died, it was his footprints that a helicopter pilot spotted, that ultimately led them to rescue his wife and two girls.
“We just want the Kim family to know we appreciate all their support. They have been true champions throughout this ordeal,” Hastings said.
The rescue operation has become one of recovery. Authorities are now bringing Kim’s body home to his family.
Kim had ties to the Bluegrass. A Jefferson County School official said he graduated from Ballard High School in Louisville in 1989.