CNET editor’s wife, daughters found; search continues

The wife and two daughters of missing CNET senior editor James Kim have been found alive and well in southwest Oregon, and the search efforts have shifted to locating James Kim, authorities said Monday afternoon.

A full-scale ground and air search has now shifted to the CNET editor, who left the car on foot Saturday morning to seek help and has not yet been found, Josephine County Undersheriff Brian Anderson said at the news conference in Merlin, Ore. “He’s a resourceful guy and we’re hoping for the best,” said Mike Weinstein, a detective with the Portland Police Bureau’s Missing Persons Unit.

Video: Rescuers find Kim family members; search continues for editor

According to officials speaking at a news conference Monday evening, the family stayed warm using the car heater and then burning tires when they ran out of gas. The family had “minor provisions,” police said.

Kati, Penelope and Sabine are “in good condition,” the officials said.

Authorities said search teams, including a helicopter equipped with night vision capabilities, will be working throughout the night Monday to locate James Kim, whose footprints are visible in some spots. The search could include dogs and horses on Tuesday, as well as rescuers from three counties.

“We have two Forest Service officers that are following the footprints the best they can,” a sheriff’s representative said. “We will be out all night and we will be working 24/7 until we bring him home.”

“The weather has been cold at night, but the family that was found today is in good shape,” he added. “They did well for nine days.”

At approximately 1:45 p.m. PST Monday, rescuers were notified that a vehicle and a woman 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, according to a statement from Oregon State Police. This location is near the Curry/Josephine County line in Josephine County.

The three were transported to a hospital in Grants Pass to be evaluated for treatment. The helicopter that spotted the trio was reportedly a private aircraft contracted by the family.

James Kim
James Kim

CNET readers, who have posted hundreds of messages of support and concern on the site’s boards in the last few days, were quick to express their relief.

“Now that Kati and the kids have been found, it won’t be long that James will be found,” one reader wrote. “This is incredible news for the Kim family.”

Messages of encouragement were also pouring in to a Web site set up by family and friends.

The 35-year-old Kim, his 30-year-old wife, Kati, and daughters Penelope (4 years) and Sabine (7 months) left their home in San Francisco last week on a Thanksgiving road trip to the Pacific Northwest. Before the sighting at the Denny’s in Roseburg, they had last been seen earlier that day in Portland, Ore., according to the San Francisco Police Department’s missing persons’ report.

The family was expected to return to San Francisco on Monday, November 27. When both James and Kati failed to show up for appointments on Tuesday, November 28, co-workers began to worry for their safety. The Kims are known for keeping in touch daily with their friends and co-workers, either by phone or e-mail.

In a search-and-rescue mission spanning multiple counties, state and federal personnel began searching highways and remote area roads by land and air. Some of those roads are difficult to travel, described by authorities as narrow and curvy with steep bordering embankments. Sno-Cats have been assisting with the search in sections covered with up to 6 inches of frozen snow.

James, Kati and Sabine
James, Kati and Sabine Kim

Authorities have not yet released details of how the family got lost.

Samantha Martin-Evans is a neighbor and close friend of Kati Kim’s with daughters close in age to the Kim daughters.

“I can’t put it into words how I feel right now,” Martin-Evans said after receiving the news of the rescue Monday. “I didn’t want to give up hope, but after nine days hope was starting to ebb last night. But now…just thinking of her waving on the side of the road is quintessential Kati: ‘Here I am, come get me,’ is so like her.”

The news about James Kim filled Martin-Evans with optimism, she said.

“To know that two days ago he was well enough to set out and now they can narrow the search…I can’t describe the feeling. It’s a miracle.”

At CNET, co-workers let out shouts of jubilation at hearing the news of Kati, Penelope and Sabine, and focused their attention on finding James.

“We’re thrilled that Kati has been found and cautiously optimistic about the condition of the girls,” said Lindsey Turrentine, James Kim’s boss and executive editor of CNET Networks’ Mobile and Software division. “We can’t wait to hear how they are doing. And we’re glad the search can now focus on James.”

At CNET, James Kim is a senior editor covering digital audio who also co-hosts a weekly video podcast for the Crave gadgets blog. He has been writing a book on Microsoft’s Zune MP3 player. Formerly, he was an on-air personality on the now-defunct cable television network TechTV.

He and his wife own two stores in San Francisco–Doe, a clothing store in the city’s Lower Haight area, and the Church Street Apothecary in the Noe Valley neighborhood, where they live.

Niki Magtoto, an employee at the Church Street Apothecary, was overwhelmed by the news. “We are very relieved, but we’re all still trembling at this point,” Magtoto said. “Everybody from the neighborhood came over to the shop to celebrate the news.”

At that moment in the conversation with a reporter, Magtoto’s father, a UPS employee who delivers packages to the Kims’ business, shouted into his daughter’s phone: “Let’s go James!”