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Searchers to drop care packages for missing CNET editor

Police believe James Kim may have left pants, other items to mark his trail; ground search will continue Wednesday.

Eighteen care packages will be strategically dropped along the route where an intensive search for missing CNET editor James Kim continues, authorities announced Wednesday morning.

Items in the packages will include a bright orange sweatshirt, sweat pants, a large wool blanket, socks, gloves, waterproof bib overalls, three half-hour flares, a flashlight, a handwarmer, a MRE (meal ready to eat) and a personal letter from the family, Lt. Gregg Hastings of the Oregon State Police, said at a press conference.

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Video: Views from the Kim search
Images from the mountains near Grants Pass, Ore., where the hunt continues for CNET editor James Kim.

The letter included in the packages was described at the press conference as a "father's plea to his son" to let James Kim know his family knows he's lost and that help is on the way.

Late Tuesday afternoon, searchers found various items left by Kim, including two gray long-sleeve shirts, one red T-shirt, one wool sock, a pair of gray pants and the remains of an Oregon map. Officials believe Kim may have left them as markers or indicators of his path. He is known to have left the family's car at 7:45 a.m. on Saturday, December 2, with two pairs of pants, tennis shoes and a heavy jacket.

On Tuesday, and again on Wednesday, authorities searching for Kim said they believe they are nearing their goal of finding the missing man, who has been stranded in a remote area for 10 days.

"This is frustrating; I mean we are so close," Josephine County Undersheriff Brian Anderson said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. "You got people who are pouring their heart and soul into here...We are treating this search like we are looking for one of our own family members."

"We are operating under the assumption he is alive," Anderson added. "We are not going to stop until we find him."

Kim's 30-year-old wife Kati and two young daughters were found alive and well Monday and have been reunited with family members. James Kim, 35, left the family car Saturday morning to search for help.

A pair of gray pants found Tuesday on a steep slope near footprints were not the blue jeans Kim was known to have been wearing when he left on foot seeking help, Anderson said, and added that he may have layered the gray pants on top of his jeans.

Searchers believe James Kim walked 2 to 3 miles along the same road the family had driven and then went into a creek drainage area. Asked why Kim did that, Anderson said, "I'm hoping on having the opportunity to ask him that question when we find him."

One searcher from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office sustained a non-life-threatening injury Tuesday and needed to be airlifted out of the area, Anderson said, and trying conditions will halt the ground search in the canyon until morning. A National Guard helicopter equipped with thermal imaging will continue to search on Tuesday night, according to Oregon State Police.

"If I run out of resources, I'll call for more help," Anderson said. "We're getting offers from all over."

Rescuers continue to search for Kim in a 5-mile stretch of a narrow canyon a few miles from where his wife and daughters were found next to silver Saab station wagon, Anderson said Tuesday morning. He added that the location where Kim is believed to be "is a very rugged, remote area; the teams are having some difficulty because of the terrain and conditions."

James Kim is believed to be within 5 miles of the location where the family was rescued, near the Rogue River, in the area of Bear Camp Viewpoint off Bear Camp Road.

Warned about dangerous road
The Kims were warned that the Bear Camp Road was dangerous this time of year when they stopped into the Wilsonville Chamber of Commerce about 20 miles south of Portland, Ore., on November 25 around 1:30 p.m. PST, Mark Ottenad, executive director of the Wilsonville Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday.

The employee working that day gave the Kims a copy of the Oregon State Department of Transportation highway map, Ottenad said.

James Kim "asked what would be scenic road and (the employee)highlighted the Agness-Galice Road, but cautioned against trying to travel on that road this time of year," Ottenad said. "Instead, she recommended staying to the main roads--Highway 38 or Highway 42," especially as it was late in the day and it would be dark soon.

James Kim
James Kim

Weather conditions in the area where James Kim is currently believed to be have been "clear and cold," Anderson said, with temperatures at night dropping to the high 20s and low 30s Fahrenheit.

Asked about the danger of exposure Kim faces, Anderson said Tuesday morning: "That is a concern of ours. He didn't have a hat, and you lose a lot of body heat that way. He left wearing tennis shoes, blue jeans and a heavy jacket. He did have a lighter with him."

James Kim left the family Saturday morning and did not return at the predetermined time of 1 p.m. A refocused full-scale search--which at various points has involved helicopters, Sno-Cats, four-wheel-drive vehicles, rafts floating down the Rogue River and searchers on foot--has continued around the clock since Monday.

At about 1:45 p.m. PST on Monday, rescuers were notified that a vehicle and a female 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 Oregon State Police. The location is a 3,500-foot mountain pass in the Siskiyou National Forest.

Kati Kim and her daughters were treated at Three Rivers Community Hospital in Grants Pass. Sabine, who is 7 months, was held overnight for observation, and Kati and Penelope (4 years) stayed overnight with Sabine, though not as patients, hospital officials said. Sabine was released Tuesday, and the family is currently staying at an undisclosed location.

James Kim, Kati, Penelope and Sabine left their home in San Francisco two weeks ago on a Thanksgiving road trip to the Pacific Northwest. They had been last seen on the Saturday after the holiday in Portland and later at a Denny's restaurant in Roseburg, according to a San Francisco Police Department missing persons report.

Kati Kim, daughters found

The family was expected to return to San Francisco on November 27. When both James and Kati failed to show up for appointments on 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.

Kim is a senior editor . He also co-hosts a weekly video podcast for the Crave gadget 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 shops 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.

Throughout the Kims' ordeal, messages of support and concern have continued to pour in by the hundreds to CNET, as well as to a Web site set up by family and friends.

On Tuesday, the Kim family issued a statement expressing gratitude for the tremendous outpouring of love and many offers of assistance to find the family.

"We are overjoyed that Kati, Penelope, and Sabine are safe and sound, largely due to James Kim's remarkable efforts to ensure the safety of his family in this desperate situation, as well as Kati's incredible resourcefulness, including breast-feeding both children during their nine-day ordeal," the statement said.

CNET's Elinor Mills contributed to this report.