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Flagstaff couple reported missing in Mexico, one found dead

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FLAGSTAFF, AZ — Authorities are searching for a Flagstaff couple reported missing in Mexico.

According to a GoFundMe page for the couple, Corey Allen and Yeon-Su Kim disappeared during a kayaking trip near Rocky Point on Thursday.

On Sunday, a Mexican news publication called El Imparcial said the Secretary of the Navy to Civil Protection Sonora reported finding a body near Encanto Beach. The body is said to have features similar to one of the missing persons.

The body has since been identified by Allen’s sister as Kim, according to Coordination of Civil Protection and Fire Fighters of Puerto Penasco officials.

Kim was a faculty member in the School of Forestry at Northern Arizona University. She served as the school’s executive director since July 2021, according to a statement from the university. The university’s full statement can be read below.

According to the GoFundMe, strong winds came up on the couple and their daughter Lux while they were kayaking. Allen reportedly took Lux to shore and then went back out to help Kim. Neither have been seen since.

Allen has still not been found.

Local authorities in Mexico say they are coordinating with the Navy and the Secretary of Public Security to search for the couple.

NAU released the following statement Sunday night following the announcement:

Dear Lumberjacks,

I write to you this evening with a heavy heart.

As many of you know, our dear colleague Yeon-Su Kim and her husband, Corey Allen, have been lost at sea since Thursday when they faced strong winds while kayaking off of Rocky Point Beach.

This evening, after days of search and rescue efforts, the tragic passing of Yeon-Su was confirmed. The search for Corey continues.

The first time I interacted with Yeon-Su, I walked away impressed by her love of NAU, passion for our mission, and devotion to advancing the well-being of our university’s community.

This first impression would hold true in every subsequent interaction I had with her, and it is an impression that will now forever be cemented in my heart as I reflect on the many people from inside and outside our university community who have contributed in one way or another to the efforts to search for her and her husband, and who today are striving to help their children in these most devastating circumstances.

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 many, 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 all keep the hope alive that Corey will be found soon and brought home safely.

I will provide more information as things evolve and encourage anyone in need of support processing this painful news to access NAU’s resources.

Northern Arizona University President Jose Luis Cruz Rivera

Friends of the family tell ABC15 the two were very involved in the Flagstaff community.

Laura Brown, a family friend, said their children grew up together in a charter school. Yeon-Su and Corey have two kids, ages 14 and 18.

“That’s the most difficult part because you know our kids grew up together. So, you know, there’s just a lot of emotion there when I think about both of them,” she said, getting a bit emotional.

Brown said the NAU community impacted heavily with the news of Yeon-Su passing. She says the couple is “down to earth” and super fun. They always would go to get-togethers as well as chaperone field trips with the kids in schools.

She says it’s a difficult time for those who knew the couple and the pain their kids are feeling.

“It’s kind of doubly hard because you’ve got you know that aspect of these two kids who are very young to even be losing one parent, let alone both of them at the same time,” she said.