Body of missing Flagstaff woman recovered; search for husband concludes

The body of a missing Flagstaff woman has been found, while authorities continue to search for her husband. The couple reportedly disappeared on Thanksgiving while spending the holiday kayaking in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, also known as Rocky Point, with their daughter.

A body was recovered three days later in the area where the couple went missing. Northern Arizona University confirmed the body is Yeon-Su Kim. She was the executive director of the School of Forestry and a professor at NAU.

Kim and her husband, Corey Allen, went missing at around 1 p.m. on Nov. 24, as winds reportedly grew stronger and Corey decided to take his daughter back to shore, said Lisa Aumack, the organizer of the GoFundMe set up to raise money for search efforts.

It's believed Corey went back to bring Yeon-Su to safety and never returned.

On Nov. 27, Protección Civil Sonora, said in a translated tweet, "After an intense search operation by air, sea and land, the Secretary of the Navy reports to Sonora Civil Protection, the discovery of a body on Playa Encanto, with characteristics similar to one of the two missing persons."

On Dec. 1, a post made by the organizer of a GoFundMe campaign for the couple stated that search for Allen should conclude by the end of the day on Dec. 1.

"We have so appreciated all of the volunteers who have given so much.  We are aware that these searches incur safety risks, and we want everyone to be safe.  Therefore, we understand that ending the coordinated search is the right thing to do, given the likelihood Corey’s body will not be recovered," a portion of the statement reads.

Rocky Point, a popular beach destination for Arizonans, is about four hours from Phoenix and just under six hours from Flagstaff.

‘Valuable members of the Flagstaff community’

Shelly Thomas, a friend of the couple for 13 years, said she hoped her dear friends would make it back home safe.

"Corey and Yeon-Su are valuable members of the Flagstaff community. They are amazing friends and wonderful parents to two exceptional kids. We are praying that they are found alive and able to be brought back to their kids who love them and depend on them," she said.

The President of NAU has released the following statement:

"Yeon-Su was an invaluable faculty member in the School of Forestry and esteemed academic leader who joined NAU in September 1998 and has served as the school's executive director since July 2021. Her accomplishments and contributions to her academic discipline, our university's mission, and the broader community were may, and – in consultation with her family and friends – we will find the appropriate time and place to celebrate her legacy of a life well-lived.

In the meantime, let us al keep the hope alive that Corey will be found soon and brought home safely."

Workers at NAU also talked about Kim.

"This is a hard loss for us," said Jim Allen, the Dean of the College of Environment Forestry and Natural Sciences at NAU.

Allen said Kim was most passionate bout working on a national level to bring more diversity into the field of forestry. He also said they are still trying to best continue Kim's work. Kim was an ecological economist, and was working on the economics of protecting the White Mountains from fierce wildfires.

"Doing thinning, restore forest, and lower fire risks and potential economic benefits of that," said Dean Allen.