A man who had been missing since Memorial Day weekend was found dead Saturday evening in Pierce County.

Chang Soo Kim, 72, disappeared May 25 while picking ferns with his family near Beaver Creek southeast of Buckley. He was last seen about 11:30 a.m. when his family split up in the dense forest.

Kim had no major health concerns, but had difficulty hearing, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

A search-and-rescue effort was conducted by several agencies and rescue groups to locate the man. Searchers on May 27 found footprints and a backpack Kim carried in a ravine.

Around 5 p.m. Saturday, volunteers from Washington Explorer Search and Rescue’s Kitsap Unit located Kim’s body in deep mud during a grid search of a swamp at the bottom of a valley in the Elbe Hills area.

It’s a knee-deep swamp, and there’s zero visibility, said unit Chairman Karl Melseth.


“In most places, you can pick out landmarks or features. In this particular case, it’s very difficult to distinguish one direction from another,” he said. “If I was in that same situation, I would have the same troubles.”

The volunteer Kitsap unit searched on May 26, 27 and 29 and again Saturday.

Melseth said rescue efforts can help provide closure for family members.

“If we can at least do that, it’s worth it,” he said.