December 5, 2006

I am pulling for James Kim right now. Have you been following this story? I’ve been thinking about the Kim family a lot since I first read they had gone missing. JB knows that area of Oregon well; we have both driven in that exact spot on the way to the Rogue River for summer camping trips.

I think the reason the story resonates with me so much, besides the fact that it’s happening semi-locally, is that I find it all too easy to imagine being in that car, feeling the increasing desperation as days go by without rescue. I can picture the inside of the car fogged with their breath, the surrounding darkness as night descends once more.

I can imagine wondering if I was going to have to watch my child die, right before my eyes. My god.

It’s like something straight out of a Stephen King novel, and the fact that it happened so randomly – a wrong turn, some bad luck – makes it even scarier, somehow. I hope, hope, hope the father is found, that the family is reunited, that all four of them get to make it out of that horrific situation alive.

Update 12/6: James didn’t make it out of the woods. Oh, what a heartbreaking outcome. I am so incredibly sorry.


I am very lucky to have my little family safe and well. It’s all that matters, really.



43 Responses to “That which is most important”

  1. justmouse on December 5th, 2006 10:52 pm



  2. Alex on December 5th, 2006 10:55 pm

    true that.

    (That pic of Riley is such a perfect illustration of both you and JB–he really does seem to resemble you both equally–does it seem that way to you?)

  3. Sara on December 5th, 2006 10:56 pm

    I’m so with you. I wept as I read the woman and children had been saved; I’m hoping that James is found soon. We’ve made wrong turns in Eastern Oregon in the summer and felt lost — even in the daylight I saw the darkness, if that makes sense. I think this story resonates more as a parent and knowing what I would try to do for my daughter. I have hope beyond hope.

  4. Scott on December 5th, 2006 11:05 pm

    I’m right there with you. These aren’t thrill-seekers trying to climb Everest without oxygen. They were just a family out on a road trip who hit some bad weather. It could have been my family. It could have been any of us. In a weird selfish way I feel like the Kims getting back OK means that we all get back OK. I’ve got my fingers crossed for them.

  5. heather on December 5th, 2006 11:12 pm

    the Kim family are close friends of my co-worker. it is terrifying and sad and…yeah. i hope they find james well. so scary.

  6. Mona on December 6th, 2006 5:31 am

    I’m pulling for their family as well. I heard last night on the radio that it was their electronic navigational system that suggested their route because it was a great tourist road but it didn’t tell them that the road was closed during the winter. So many parts of this story make me wonder if I could do it alone, waiting for my husband while being my child’s lifesource. I’m with everyone else here–hoping and hoping.

  7. warcrygirl on December 6th, 2006 6:21 am

    I can’t add anything that hasn’t already been said so I’ll just add a hearty “me too” and say a little prayer.

  8. Joanne on December 6th, 2006 6:51 am

    I’ve been thinking of him and his family too. It’s so amazing that they were found, I keep thinking that should bode well for him. It’s too sad to think about all at once, this is a perfect little tribute and thought.

  9. Jeanette on December 6th, 2006 6:57 am

    I am also praying that they find him soon. Great picture of Riley and JB.

  10. Ang on December 6th, 2006 7:30 am

    It’s in our local news here in Kansas, too. So sad. I’m pulling for them.

  11. Ani on December 6th, 2006 8:26 am


  12. Jen on December 6th, 2006 8:46 am

    Being lost like that is one of my worst fears. My friend thought I was nuts because when I went to visit her in New Mexico, I wouldn’t get in the car without a huge bottle of water… in case we got lost and ran out of gas in the desert.

    I hadn’t heard about this story since I’m on the East Coast and I pay less attention to the news than I should, but I’m glad you posted about this. I drove from Seattle to Oregon this summer, hitting Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helen’s, and I was amazed at how long we could go on a back road, unsure of whether we were going in the right direction, without passing any cars or houses or anything. It was nice, but that was summer. In the winter, it would be scary.

    If they find that guy, will you please tell us? I’m afraid we won’t get the news here.

  13. Rene on December 6th, 2006 9:31 am

    What a tragedy! I just heard on CNN that they found his pants and that is not a good sign. Apparently, when you get severe hypothermia, you feel “hot” and want to take off your clothes. Keep praying!

  14. anatomist on December 6th, 2006 10:00 am

    oh, this post made me cry. i haven’t been able to get the kim family out of my mind either. i’ve been stuck in those snow covered backroads in oregon before and luckily for me i was found after only a night spent in the cold. i cannot imagine the horror of 9 days waiting and watching my husband walk out into the weather and disappear. i can’t stop hoping he is out there waiting to be found…

  15. Kristin on December 6th, 2006 10:34 am


  16. Melissa on December 6th, 2006 10:52 am

    I really feel for this family and it definitely makes me hold my family closer. I really hope this has a happy ending…it could happen to anyone.

  17. angela on December 6th, 2006 11:08 am

    I’ve been following this story too. I heard this morning on the weather channel that they found his outter layer of pants (they said he was wearing jeans underneath), and I found it really weird, but now that I’m reading that it’s the first stages of hypothermia, I am thinking the worst. I, too, kept imagining what it would be like, trapped in their car all that time, and then being the woman who was waiting for her husband. That poor family. I’m a godless heathen, but I am definitely praying for him.

  18. jen on December 6th, 2006 11:46 am

    i’ve been following as well. crazy google news searching over the past few days. i hope everything turns out well with the dad.

  19. AmyW on December 6th, 2006 12:07 pm

    Riley is so cute! He looks so tall in the picture of him & JB. JB looks like the instigator. hee!

  20. leelee on December 6th, 2006 12:23 pm

    i’ve not been able to get this story out of my mind either. i keep checking for updates, hoping for more good news. so glad the wife and 2 daughters were found save, but i can only imagine what she as a mother/wife must be going through.

  21. jonniker on December 6th, 2006 12:40 pm

    I am ridiculously riveted to this story, and am having a hard time moving on. The location of the pants really killed me, truly (also, to the commenter above, they think the pants were a deliberate clue left by James, as he was wearing jeans, too.) I can’t imagine if that were Adam, and I were waiting for him to come back. I don’t know what I would do, and my heart just breaks for Kati and their girls right now.

    Also, I agree that Riley looks like such a perfect combination of you and JB. All three of you are just so damn cute, I want to put you all in my pocket and take you home.

  22. LLL on December 6th, 2006 1:12 pm

    This will sound stupid, but I hadn’t even thought of having to watch your children die. That is something I cannot even begin to comprehend. I keep wondering what I would have done. What if she hadn’t been breastfeeding? What if they hadn’t found her. When I heard the Mom and kids were found and alright I breathed a sigh of relief. Those poor babies and their parents. I truly hope he is found.

  23. Rebecca on December 6th, 2006 1:18 pm

    My heart weeps for the Kim family – what an ordeal. I love snow and all, but that is scary. It makes me want to get some kitty litter and a space blanket for my car, even though I so rarely leave Seattle city limits.

  24. missbanshee on December 6th, 2006 2:05 pm
  25. Shel on December 6th, 2006 2:14 pm

    Breaking News
    Missing Man James Kim Found Dead

    James Kim, who had been missing the Oregon wilderness, was found dead Wednesday.

    “At 12:03 p.m. the body of James Kim was located down in the canyon of Big Windy Creek,” said Josephine County undersheriff Brian Anderson, who had to stop speaking because he was moved to tears, at a press conference on Merlin, Ore.

    Kim, 35, along with his wife Katie, 30, and daughters Penelope, 4, and Sabine, 7 months, got stranded on Nov. 25 after their car got stuck in the snow while they were on a trip going from Seattle to their home in San Francisco.

    “Arrangements are being made to have him removed from the area,” said Lt. Gregg Hastings, who added, “We want the Kim family to know that we appreciate all of their support. They have been true champions throughout this whole ordeal, and we just want them to know that our thoughts and our prayers have been with them from day one.”

    For the first three days they were stuck they used the car’s heater at night to keep warm. When the gas ran out, they used the battery alone. After the battery died, they burned tires to generate heat.

    For food, they had only scant provisions in their 2005 Saab station wagon: just some baby food and Cheez Whiz.

    Katie and her two daughters were rescued on Monday when she was spotted by a helicopter waving an open umbrella on which she had affixed reflective tape spelling out SOS.

    Two days before they were saved, Kim dressed in a jacket, two pairs of pants, sweater and sneakers, and set off to seek help for his loved ones.

    Rescuers searching for Kim found items such as bits of an Oregon map and some clothing that he had apparently dropped along the way as he searched for help.

    Kim was a senior editor at the web site CNET, where he reviewed the newest electronic gadgets.

    Katie’s father, Dr. Philip Fleming, said on the Today show earlier this week. “He’s a very heroic father.”

  26. JennPerryman on December 6th, 2006 2:23 pm


  27. angela on December 6th, 2006 2:53 pm
  28. Donna on December 6th, 2006 3:13 pm

    Jen, you were very correct to always take your water in NM, I do, and live here.

    Always have an emergency pack in your car, include water, a blanket, clothes, especially a hat, socks and gloves. Sunscreen, food, (go to any army/navy/outdoor store, and buy ration type stuff), fix a flat, a mirror for signaling, first aid stuff, a snake bite kit, garbage bags for rain gear, several lighters, and or waterproof matches, toilet tissue, one of those tools that have a knife, pliers etc, and a cheap survival manual. I recommend 98 degrees, the art of keeping your ass alive.
    All this should only cost you about 50 bucks.
    If you can afford it, throw in a gps, fish hooks, line, and if you are so inclined, a rifle.
    You may not need any of it, but if you go out like I do off roading alone or with family, even with 4 wheel drive, (which just means you can get stuck in worse places), you may need some of it. It’s better to have it than not. Put it all in a backpack, stick it in your trunk, if you use anything replace it immediately, and let someone know where you are going. Hopefully, there won’t be many more tragedies like this, it sucks that just like half the people on the road right now, they were just sightseeing, and got into some shit. Could happen to anyone. The outcome could have maybe, just maybe, been different.
    My family and friends all tease me that I could live out of my car, but I like to be comfy.
    My urban survival pack has clothes, makeup, blowdrier, curling iron, shampoo, conditioner, shoes, water, candy and money. It’s also in my car. You just never know.

  29. Lawyerish on December 6th, 2006 3:20 pm

    This tears me up. The story is so unspeakably sad. I think of how secure I used to feel on our family car trips, and the thought of such a tragic ending coming from such an innocent holiday drive rips my heart out. It makes me think, too, of how odd it is that we’re in such a connected society — people can’t go minutes without checking BlackBerries or calling on cell phones — yet there are these areas of our country that are incredibly remote. Maybe not hundreds of miles from anywhere, but unreachable nonetheless.

    I cannot stop thinking of the family making the decision for him to go get help, how they couldn’t have known that they were going to be found in the car shortly thereafter. I think of how men are so proactive, how James must have felt that he couldn’t just sit there any longer waiting, how he as the father had to set out to DO something to save his loved ones. He was heroic in that sense.


  30. SJ on December 6th, 2006 3:50 pm

    Man, I just saw the breaking news about this – how very sad. I’ve read quite a few blogs in recent days talking about this story. One could only hope for the best. Everyone was pulling for this family – and Mr. James Kim. Terrible, terrible.

  31. samantha on December 6th, 2006 4:28 pm

    This is so unbelievably sad.

  32. orangepeacock on December 6th, 2006 5:52 pm

    That poor man. That poor family. I can’t even begin to imagine how awful it must be for his wife.

  33. Swistle on December 6th, 2006 6:04 pm

    The worst part to me is thinking, “He should have stayed with the car. Then he’d be alive.” And of course at the time, there was no way at all to know that, and for all they knew it was his going that would keep them all alive. It’s just so horrible to think that if he hadn’t gone, he wouldn’t have died.

  34. Swistle on December 6th, 2006 6:07 pm

    But I’m so glad the children were saved, and their mother. It would be so much worse if one of the children had died.

  35. Melanie on December 6th, 2006 7:38 pm

    How scary and how sad – it’s so weird to think that such a thing can still happen in the technology age – it seems like someone would have driven by or they would have had a cell phone to call for help or something, you know? It’s eerie to think about. I am never, ever leaving the house without my cell phone again! My heart goes out to that family, I can’t imagine how hard they struggled to stay alive all that time, and then to have one of them not make it is just heartbreaking.

  36. arwen on December 6th, 2006 7:44 pm

    my guess is that they had a cell, and it didn’t work way out there.

  37. Sadie on December 7th, 2006 7:22 am

    This story has also really riveted me, and I feel so sorry for that family. The most awful part, for me, is that James Kim never got to find out that his wife and daughters were safe, and rescued. He was out there in the cold Oregon wilderness, probably propelled solely by the fear that if he didn’t find help, his family wouldn’t make it. I am sure it was a wrenching decision to leave that car, but imagine if he hadn’t, and they all died there. James wasn’t going to let that happen, and for that his death is heroic.

    Melanie – the Kims were very tech-savvy, connected people – they had cells and a PDA, but in the mountainous areas they got stuck in, there was no reception at all. And of course, once the car ran out of gas there was no way to charge their batteries anyway. That said, a cellular company somewhere in Oregon did pick up a “cell ping” from their phone and was able to triangulate the signal’s location to narrow the search area.

  38. jonniker on December 7th, 2006 8:38 am

    They had a cell phone. In fact, it’s one of the ways that they found them, as James got a text message, which caused a ‘blip.’ Their cell phone didn’t work out there that far in the wilderness.

    I just feel sick about the whole thing. Imagine that decision, to let him go find help. The responsibility he must have felt. It’s all so…wrong.

  39. Amy on December 7th, 2006 1:24 pm

    Well put, Linda.

    You know, how terrible is it that I don’t think I would noticed that story more than any other before Jacob was born? I really feel like my heart has grown three sizes.

  40. Josh on December 17th, 2006 8:35 pm

    Yeah, how aboout this serial killer in england? Crazy shit huh? The world has been a minefield of chaos since the breakup of Britney and K-Fed. When will it all simmer down?

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