Update 11/13/2005 9:35am EDT
TAAG would like to let all friends know that this Memorial Web Site will soon be located at www.yuanxiaodong.com.
In today's update, 1) we have a Thanksgiving open letter from YU Yan to all concerned friends, and 2) some friends had asked TAAG to give an
what happened. TAAG is releasing a statement based on physical evidence and physics calculation from it.
- Yan's letter
Thank you for being there with me all the time. Thank you for all the
amazing support and
love you give me and my two kids. I know you all miss Xiaodong too.
Xiaodong is not only my husband, my lover, my soulmate, my best friend,
but also your
friend, your classmate. Don't be afraid to talk to me now. I'd like to hear
you mention Xiaodong's
name and tell me how great a person he is. Nothing you say can make me sadder
than I already am,
it only makes me feel better. I need you all now more than ever.
My kids are still young. I am trying to keep things as normal as
possible to them. I know
with your help, we can do best to help them grow up to be the kind of person
we both wanted them to
The biggest loss is not my loss and my sons' loss, it is Xiaodong's
loss. He is only
34 years old. He loved life so much and he was great at enjoying it. But this
was taken away from him.
I know he will always be watching us from above during every holiday, every
We are lucky enough to have so many friends there to help. It is
comforing to me by what
you did from the beginning and how much love you give to me and my two kids. I
am not a strong
woman at all. I act strongly only because there are so many hands help me to
Have faith in me, and with your help, I will pull through.
Love to all,
Have a nice Thanksgiving and happy holidays.
- With YU Yan's approval, TAAG issues the following statement on the accident:
From physical evidence gathered at the scene, we do not know what triggered Xiaodong to apply the brake at that moment.
It could be falling rocks, wild animal crossing, the rising sun's
obstructing beam, or some unknown cause. We do know, based on TAAG's calculations from lengths of skid marks, published friction coefficients data,
and the landing location, with the 6% grade of the downhill slope taken into account, that he was driving conservatively at about 44.0
mph on the section of the road with a posted limit of 50 mph. The rental
vehicle was not equipped with an anti-lock brake system and the brake
unfortunately locked, which left only seconds of skidding before the
vehicle fell off at the speed of 27.7 mph and landed on rocks upside down one second or so later. Xiaodong and Ms. Wang left this life
without further suffering.
Update 10/22/2005 22:00pm EDT
TAAG is distributing receipts to the 415 donors
by hand delivery, email (PayPal donors) or post office mail. If you do not
receive your receipt within two weeks, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update 10/21/2005 9:00am EDT
Total donation amount as of yesterday evening: $74,543.25 from 415 individuals/families and businesses. Thank you for your kindness! Please also see the 10/16/05 update below.
Update 10/16/2005 13:30pm EDT
TAAG Board of Directors held a meeting yesterday to review the status of the
donation drive and the remaining work. Since the opening of the Xiaodong
Yuan Memorial Fund on September 29, 2005, we have received overwhelming support from many kind-hearted people showing tremendous goodwill towards Xiaodong and Ms. Wang, offering their help financially and morally to Yan and her two young boys. We are grateful to all of you for the trust you placed on TAAG. TAAG has opened a specific-purpose account for the fund and designated two board members to manage the account with detail bookkeeping, which is reviewed by an outside CPA.
Up to October 15, 2005, we received a total of $68,263.25 from 389 individuals / families and businesses. Of this amount, $14,230 came from California, $29,780 came from Georgia, and $5,432.58 from Paypal, with the remaining portion from elsewhere in the U.S.. Each ranges from $2000 (from Ms. OU Xiaolan and others mentioned earlier), to $2 from a small girl in the local Chinese school: we appreciate the generosity from each and everyone of you. All donors who did not request names to be withdrawn are listed in these two pages: list 1 and list 2.
Most of the donors do not know the Yuan family personally. Many prefer to stay anonymous. Sympathy cards, handwritten notes accompanied a lot of the checks offering sincere condolences and encouragement to Yan and Mr. YUAN Hesheng, Some also
lavished praises on TAAG.
In accordance with TAAG's charter, bylaws and our 501(c)(3) organization status, the Xiaodong Yuan Memorial Fund is used to pay 1) the expenses of the search operations; 2) funeral expenses and family members' travel expenses; 3) guardrails and/or warning signs along the sections of dangerous roads in or near Yosemite National Park (as wished by Yan and Mr. YUAN Hesheng); and if any funds remain after that 4) Xiaodong's children's education related expenses.
Last but not the least, during the search and afterwards, many people offered their advice, giving clothing and toys to the two boys when they were in the
temporary care of TAAG board members' families, buying food etc for the Yuan family, ... all these are hard to measure in monetary values.
The humanity and benevolence shown by all the supporters strengthen our resolve to help Xiaodong's family going through the tough time. On their behalf, TAAG would like to thank all of you. Your generosity and encouragement do ease the pain Yan and family and friends are feeling. For that, we are forever indebted.
Donation report in Chinese.
Update 10/12/2005 22:49pm EDT
We would like to acknowledge a Virginia alumna who wishes to remain anonymous for valuable advice from her and her husband. The moral support from friends help Yan and family get through day by day. Thank you all!
Update 10/11/2005 22:30pm EDT
We received 42 donations today to the Xiaodong Yuan Memorial Fund, including
$2000 from classmates of Yan and Xiaodong who requested their names be withheld, $2000
from BIAN Zhigang and LI Yun, and $500 from LIANG Lei and YU Lidan. TAAG and other involved take the strong support as the best encouragement to our volunteer effort and a testament to our community's benevolence.
Update 10/11/2005 22:05pm EDT
Mr. YUAN Xiaowei arrived safely in Beijing. Mr. Ming WANG's family returned
safely to Cleveland. Marshall YUAN went back to his regular school today and
his teacher reported to YU Yan that he was well behaved and acted like his normal self. Max YUAN is getting along with his maternal grandparents.
Update 10/10/2005 23:55pm EDT
There was no postal delivery today, nevertheless we received 7 donations via Paypal. Among them, GENG Yongjun & WANG Zhengmin made a second donation of $500.Your kindness is much appreciated!
Update 10/10/2005 16:09pm EDT
YU Yan has entrusted TAAG board members to handle Xiaodong's estate matters. In going through related documents, we found out more things about our friend that we didn't know before, such as his donating blood annually.
Jianzhong HUANG completed the Report of the Remembrance Gathering in Chinese.
Update 10/10/2005 14:14pm EDT
Video clips from the Remembrance Gathering are available for downloads, in Windows Media format.
Update 10/9/2005 23:20pm EDT
Consul General Mr. Jinzhou Hua and the Chinese Consulate General in Houston asked TAAG president HAN Baoshan to convey their condolences to YU Yan and Mr. YUAN Hesheng.
Photos taken from the Remembrance Gathering have been posted to the Memorial Album web site.
Update 10/9/2005 13:25pm EDT
Family relatives Mr. Chen and Ms. Xie sent a condolence letter to Mr. YUAN Hesheng.
Update 10/9/2005 9:45am EDT
We received 83 donations yesterday, including $2000 from XUE Zheng, Rui & MA Erui, $800 from MA Huilian, and $500 each from HUANG Zhifeng & LI Rong,
LOU Yuang & GUO Bin,
WANG Yongqian & ZHU Yi & Ouwen,
WEI Ran & ZHOU Wei,
YU Kar-Lam & Ada,
ZHANG Diana & Runzhou. Many thanks to all who donated!
Update 10/8/2005 23:50pm EDT
Family and friends held the Remembrance Gathering in Honor of the Lives
of Ms. Wang and Xiaodong this afternoon, which lasted 45 minutes longer
than the planned two hours. Many of Xiaodong and Yan's classmates and
friends participated via conference call from all over the U.S.. Flower
wreaths from Mr. YUAN Hesheng, Mr. YUAN Xiaowei, and Yan, from TAAG and
from Xiaodong's classmates were placed at the front, together with six pine
cones and a couple of rocks from the accident site.
TAAG President HAN Baoshan chaired the event. The program started with
TAAG board members greeting family and friends, and friends signing
the guestbook and getting seated, while MA Sicong's Nostalgia and Mozart's Requiem
played in the background. Upon the commencement of the
Remembrance Gathering, the music stopped and
all observed a minute of silence. The first speaker was
Mr. WANG Ming, first cousin of Ms. WANG Zhaohui. He recalled the
illustrious career of Ms. WANG and the many memories of his cousin
as a loving mother. Mr. YUAN Xiaowei then reflected on the remarkable
positive attitude towards life that his mother always held, and how
his brother Xiaodong had taken exactly the same trait.
YU Yan spoke after Xiaowei. She talked about Xiaodong as a great husband
and a great father, and the many qualities that made Xiaodong such a
unique caring individual and such a beloved person. She vowed to
continue Xiaodong's wish of visiting the many places in China and the U.S.
and to raise the kids to be good people.
In the next session, other relatives, classmates, TAAG members,
and Xiaodong's co-workers shared their recollections of Ms. Wang
and Xiaodong's lives. We sighed and cried for our loss. We smiled and
laughed for the good times and the privilege of knowing them.
Xiaodong is such a good son, good husband, good father, good friend,
good alumnus, in short -- a "good person" in the truest sense.
And those of us who did not get to know Ms. Wang commented on how she
must have been a wonderful mother to raise such a son. Xiaodong's life
was celebrated as a perfect embodiment of Tsinghua University's school
motto, “自强不息、厚德载物” -- which can be loosely translated
as "self-discipline and social commitment" or "to strive along; to
enhance virtue, to be tolerant and to serve."
Board members LU Shengkai and JIANG Sijuan recited letters from
other Chinese associations, alumni associations, Xiaodong's
teachers and relatives, as well as tributes and condolence messages posted
at the memorial forum and other web sites, while board member
HUANG Jianzhong displayed slides of family pictures.
TAAG board members Yale XIAO and Wei LIN described the search efforts
and the tremendous outpouring of support from the Chinese communities and
many other concerned friends, the daily busy activities of phone calls,
email messages, web updates and conference calls, and the backstage
support by the families of all involved, all in concerted efforts to get
more attention to the case of our missing friends and to mobilize more
resources for the search. They expressed the ideal of seeing our communities
building stronger ties.
Baoshan and June described the frontline search efforts, their meetings
with the rangers and sheriff deputies, the helicopter and driving search
trips, the crucial role played by the Chinese Consulate General in
San Francisco, and at the end, the heartbreaking moments of knowing
the bad news and reaching the scene. They recalled that Yan's first wish
was to build some guarding barrier at the road side to prevent more
accidents from happening again there, a thought shared by Xiaodong's
father Mr. YUAN Hesheng. Baoshan mentioned that Highway Patrol had
told them about the avalanche activities and the frequent falling of rocks
making that idea not feasible. Yan and TAAG will be working towards
making prominent warning signs along the highway.
Ms. WANG and Xiaodong's missing and the tragic accident touched the
hearts of so many people and we are indebted for all the concerns and
supports. Board member Yuansheng CHEN reported on the fund raising
activities for TAAG's Xiaodong Yuan Memorial Fund.
Baoshan and Yan concluded the Remembrance Gathering by repeating our
heartfelt thanks to all the concerned friends, alumni, Chinese diplomats,
rangers, sheriff deputies, other law enforcement and highway patrol officers,
government officials and news media reporters for their effort, assistance,
professionalism, kindness and generosity. Afterwards, Requiem resumed and
friends came up hugging and shaking hands with the family members to console
them and wish them well.
Photos of the event will be posted on the memorial album at the TAAG web site later.
Update 10/7/2005 21:52pm EDT
We received 45 donations today, among them a classmate of Xiaodong and Yan
donated $2000 but asked to have her name withheld, and many people sent along words of encouragement. Your support is making a great difference!
Update 10/7/2005 15:50pm EDT
We talked to Yan just now. Today she discussed with
Marshall's teacher about how to tell Marshall what happened.
Update 10/7/2005 14:24pm EDT
We received 63 donations yesterday. One family in Georgia and another in New York sent in $500 each and requested that their named be withheld. TAAG volunteers are heartened by the show of support from so many people.
Update 10/6/2005 21:44pm EDT
June took Marshall back to Yan today. Marshall will go back to his normal school next week. His teacher called us to express condolences to the family and recalled that Xiaodong often did volunteer work at the school.
Update 10/6/2005 12:35pm EDT
Pictures of Xiaodong through the years are now included in the memorial album.
We are grateful for the kind words many donors left with us via Paypal:
We got quick updates from your website since the begining, your tireless
efforts to help Yuan's family touched our hearts. As parents for 2 young boys,
we feel the pain of Yan's lost. We want to show our support to Yan. Hope she
gets through this difficult time soon.
Xu, Huaishi (Computer 81')
Zhao, Min (Automation 84')
I don't know Yuan and his family. Just want to express my
condolence to his two sons and his wife.
-- Tong Wang in St.Louis
Update 10/6/2005 9:15am EDT
Pictures from Ms. Wang and Xiaodong's Las Vegas and Yosemite trip were retrieved from their undamaged camera. We published some in the memorial album with Yan's permission, including one believed to be minutes before the accident.
Update 10/5/2005 22:28pm EDT
The Remembrance Gathering in Honor of the Lives of Ms. Wang and
Xiaodong is scheduled as follows:
Saturday, October 8th, 2005 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm EDT
Perimeter Church (Map and Directions)
9500 Medlock Bridge Road
Duluth, GA 30097
Family and friends are holding the Remembrance Gathering in lieu of any formal memorial service, respecting family wishes and reflecting Ms. Wang and Xiaodong's unassuming grace and charisma. (The dress code is thus set as business casual.)
Update 10/5/2005 22:00pm EDT
Today we received 26 donations, among them, family friends Scott and Chausa CHEN donated $1200, CHEN Weidong and LI Ai donated $500,
ZHAO Chunyu donated $500.
Update 10/5/2005 21:15pm EDT
YU Yan sent a note to all concerned:
Thank you very much.
Don't worry about me everybody, I am fine and start working now: collecting
photos, reading all the emails and mails, paying bills,
organizing the stuff in their luggages. And my younger son is very happy
playing with my parents now.
Just received a bouquet of flowers in a vase with the following message on a card:
"No words could make up for your loss, but every classmate is caring and
supporing you anytime, anywhere. Take care of yourself and the kids! we love
you! -- All classmates from 1988 Class 2."
Update 10/5/2005 20:55pm EDT
Alan WANG, TV reporter in Atlanta who first broke the missing persons news to television audience and subsequently relocated to California, wrote to us today:
I was touched by the outpouring of concern and emotion for Yuan Xiaodong and
his mother, Wang Zhaohui. His friends and fellow alumni executed a well-organized effort that impressed and persuaded authorities, in Yosemite, to take
action. I myself, a father of two boys, ages 4 and 2, felt the sadness of
your loss (Xiaodong's beautiful sons will have few memories of their father and
grandmother). But as a Chinese-American, I was proud of the way Yale Xiao and
the Tsinghua Alumni Association presented themselves, on television, in front
of Metro Atlanta. Strong, determined, assertive, and intelligent. My
condolences go out to Xiaodong's wife, his two sons, and the entire Chinese
community of Metro Atlanta.
South Metro Bureau Chief
Update 10/5/2005 17:15pm EDT
Tsing Hua Alumni Association in Greater Chicago Area donated $100. President LI Gang called on members to make individual donations to the Xiaodong Yuan Memorial Fund.
There are already eight people donating via Paypal online. It's an easy, secure, and direct way to help.
Update 10/5/2005 7:40am EDT
Yan and parents, Xiaowei, his uncle who lives in Cleveland, Baoshan and June arrived in Atlanta this morning from San Francisco. Scott CHEN greeted them at the airport.
As we completed the tasks in California, TAAG thanks the support and participation from Yan and Xiaodong's friends there, alumni from the Tsing Hua Alumni Association of Northern California (THAA-NC) under the leadership of President Eric YANG (Industrial Engineering BS'82, Hsinchu Campus in Taiwan) and those from the Tsing Hua University Alumni Association of Southern California (THUAA-SC), and the Chinese Consulates General in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Update 10/5/2005 7:20am EDT
We received 32 donations yesterday, among them, ZHANG Chunbo & GUO Yan from Minnesota sent in $600, David & Carol ANDERSON of McDonough, GA (Xiaodong's town of residence) sent in $500. We now accept online donations via Paypal, so that you can conveniently pay by eCheck or Visa/MasterCard. We
appreciate donation in any amount and will eventually publish all names (without amounts) and
pass them to the family.
TAAG acknowledges the Perimeter Church's May Chun Kam for her help in securing the location for our remembrance event this Saturday, detail information of which will be available later on this site. We appreciate the kindness of
the Church's leadership for opening up Church facility
to the North Fulton Chinese Community for secular events throughout the years.
Update 10/4/2005 10:20pm EDT
Association of Chinese Professionals (ACP) in Atlanta sent a letter of condolence to Yan and Xiaowei. ACP will call for donation in an upcoming symposium.
Update 10/4/2005 9:00pm EDT
Hui TIAN, who was in the search team that first reached Yosemite with WEI Ran and LAI Dishi, donated $500 to the Xiaodong Yuan Memorial Fund. Family friend Scott CHEN searched entire Atlanta Airport parking lots from
Economy to Park & Ride and finally found the Yuan family minivan that Xiaodong
left there before flying to Las Vegas.
Update 10/4/2005 9:58am EDT
Friends are taking care of some details to prepare for the group's arrival in Atlanta at 5am tomorrow. Among the tasks: finding where the van Xiaodong drove to the airport was parked, getting some fresh grocery for them, and preparing the two boys for the reunion.
Update 10/3/2005 23:10pm EDT
Marshall's school teacher from Pate's Creek Elementary School and
Xiaodong's employer Encompass called and expressed their condolence to
the family. Xiaodong Yuan Memorial Fund received more checks. Among them, Mr. Eric Poe XING
and Ne ZHANG each donated $1000, Mr. Chad OWENS donated $740. Thanks to all who donated!
Update 10/3/2005 22:36pm EDT
Family members and friends said goodbye to Xiaodong and Ms. Wang in a solemn funeral service at the Bishop funeral home. Afterwards, cremation service was conducted and the family members received the cremated remains. Baoshan and June were next to Yan and Xiaowei to console them throughout the services. Our thoughts are with them all...
Update 10/3/2005 11:59am EDT
LI Zhihua, vice secretary-in-general of Tsinghua Alumni Association, has
sent his condolence from Beijing's Tsinghua University. TANG Jian, who was the teacher to first greet Xiaodong and Yan when they entered Tsinghua, wrote to recall the life of Xiaodong and to offer his sympathy to Yan.
Update 10/3/2005 11:19am EDT
WANG June and HAN Baoshan drove seven hours back to the Yosemite National
Park again last night with YU Yan, YUAN Xiaowei (Xiaodong's brother) and
other relatives to arrange the cremation. TAAG urges them all to take care of
themselves well. WANG June pledged $2000 support through her business, Info
Realty, in addition to her family's personal donation of $1000. We thank June for her dedicated involvement from the very beginning and the financial support.
Update 10/3/2005 8:19am EDT
The Association of Chinese Professionals in Atlanta and the Minnesota Tsinghua Alumni Association asked TAAG to convey their condolences to Ms. Wang and Xiaodong's family.
Update 10/2/2005 23:15pm EDT
Please distributed this call-for-donation flyer to your friends and/or post it in your community's BBS.
Update 10/2/2005 22:25pm EDT
We have started to receive donation checks, including $500 each from CHEN
Mingquan's family and GENG Yongjun's family. Thank you for your kindness. We
appreciate donations in any amount. Due to the limited volunteer resources,
we are listing businesses that contributed $300 or more and individuals who
donated $100 or more.
Update 10/1/2005 13:25pm EDT
Two companies founded by Tsinghua alumni, Ping Mortgage and Valuecalling.com, contributed $2,000 and $1,000 respectively to the Xiaodong Yuan Memorial Fund.
Update 10/1/2005 11:39am EDT
Yuan's family has received great supports from parents of Atlanta Contemporary Chinese School during its Saturday morning classes. Among all supporters, CAI Wei, a Tsinghua alumna, wrote a check in the amount of $1,000.
Update 9/30/2005 23:55pm EDT
Xiaodong's father Mr. YUAN Hesheng wrote TAAG to express his utmost appreciation to all involved in the search and support, and to all concerned: Tsinghua Alumni Associations, Chinese foreign ministry and the diplomatic missions in the U.S., Yosemite National Park workers, California and Nevada state and local governments staff, U.S. Embassy in China, all concerned Chinese and American friends, colleagues, schoolmates, relatives and community members, media staff who are involved.
Consel WU Jian and another consul from San Francisco Consulate General arrived at the location to help with the arrangements. Consul Tong called TAAG's governmental affairs liaison board member JIANG Sijuan this afternoon again to offer the Consulate General's further assistance to the family. TAAG wishes to express our heart-felt appreciation to the Chinese diplomatic missions in San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as the Embassy in Washington, D.C.. Many consuls from the San Francisco Consulate General worked tirelessly in the search effort and in the facilitation of visa/passport application. Their professionalism is truly exemplary.
Xiaodong and Ms. Wang are resting in peace at a funeral home at the town of Bishop, west of the Yosemite NP. Yan, Baoshan, and June are staying in the town tonight and will go to San Francisco tomorrow to meet the Yuan/Yu family members arriving from China.
TAAG held daily conference call to arrange the next steps. We will hold a memorial service next Saturday in honor of the lives of Xiaodong and his mother. We ask for your generosity to help Yan, Marshall and Max overcome the difficulties ahead in their lives by donating to the Xiaodong Yuan Memorial Fund.
|Yan in a moment of|
silent mourning at site
|Father and Sons|
Update 9/30/2005 9:30am EDT
Yu Yan's parents and Xiaodong's brother Xiaowei got the visa. They plan to come to San Francisco / Atlanta tomorrow if tickets are available. Based on conversation with a family member in Beijing last night at 2am EDT 9/30, Xiaodong's father is a not in a condition to make the trip and may not have applied.
Update 9/30/2005 7:10am EDT
TAAG requested expedited visa applications for Xiaodong and Yan's family members. Yale XIAO talked to reporters in Shanghai and Beijing. One reporter called back at around 2:15am and said the U.S. Embassy acknowledged the fact and was working on it.
In Deep Sorrow, TAAG Releases News at 9/29/2005 20:40pm EDT
TAAG sadly announces the passing away of YUAN Xiaodong and his mother Ms. WANG Zhaohui. The car found down the valley at the dangerous road right outside of the east gate of Yosemite National Park has their bodies inside. As of now, Chief Investigator Yu believed it was caused by an accident. Yan, Baoshan, and June already arrived at the scene.
We mourn for the loss of our cheerful former leader and good friend and his mother. Our thoughts and prayers are with Yan, the kids and all of the YUAN and YU families. We thank all the concerned friends, alumni, Chinese diplomats, rangers, sheriff deputies, other law enforcement and highway patrol officers, government officials and news media reporters for their effort, assistance, professionalism, kindness and generosity.
Xiaodong loves his wife, kids, family, friends, and our Alma Mater Tsinghua University that brought us together. He devoted much time during the years to TAAG and the Atlanta-area local communities, especially during the year from April 2004 to April 2005 when he served as the president of this organization. He will be terribly missed. At this sad moment, we recall the life of Xiaodong more than just his dedication to community services, but also the laughters, chats, his serving BBQ in all-member picnic, and his famous spicy dish Sichuan Water Boiled Beef that he always brought to potluck dinners before our board meetings.
May Xiaodong and Ms. Wang rest in peace.
Update 9/29/2005 19:15pm EDT
Consul WU Jian called to inform us that Chief Investigator Steve Yu was rushing to a scene in Lee Vining, Mono County, where a car fitting our description was found.
Update 9/29/2005 19:05pm EDT
Yuansheng and Yale drove to Xiaodong and Yan's home in southern metro Atlanta last night to retrieve Marshall's birthday gift prepared by his parents. Our birthday plan for Marshall: Gulinar will hold a mini party at Chuck E Cheese with a few kids and will deliver this gift to him. Another party which will involve more other kids and gifts has been scheduled on this coming Sunday.
Update 9/29/2005 17:47pm EDT
Marshall Yuan will be back to school tomorrow, with Gulinar as his guardian. Due to both parents' absence, Gulinar and Sijuan had to spent a lot of time to make this happen without Yan's involvement.
Update 9/29/2005 12:45pm EDT
We confirmed that Yosemite NP did conduct ariel search yesterday and saw no evidence.
Board members Sijuan JIANG and Gulinar have taken care of Marshall's temporary schooling arrangement. Gulinar will show up in person at the school district office in downtown for an interview to satisfy the temporary custody requirement by this new district in northern metro Atlanta and Marshall will be able to return to his regular school in southern metro Atlanta later. Meanwhile, Yuansheng CHEN reported that Max is well behaved and very lovely.
Update 9/29/2005 10:40am EDT
Yosemite National Park issued a press release yesterday.
Update 9/29/2005 1:50am EDT
Please distribute the updated Missing Persons Alert flyer.
Update 9/29/2005 1:00am EDT
A third team will be arriving at the park today.
Update 9/28/2005 23:50pm EDT
Recap of search effort from our frontline teams today:
Yan, June, and Baoshan drove to Mono County Sheriff Dept. and met with the duputies there to get briefing from them. Subsequently, they drove along 395, then 120 E, Hwy 6, to 264, 266 and NV Hwy 95. These sections of roads cover a wide range of characteristics: some part high amount of automobile traffic, some being wide road, roads from amid farmland with few people, to groves of small trees. When they reached Gold Field it was about 9:30pm EDT and they joined the TAAG daily conference to report that no evidence of car accident was visiable along the way. They stopped by gas stations to post flyers and inquire about the missing persons.
From Gold Field, the team headed towards Beatty at the east gate of Death Valley National Park to talk to Nye County Sheriff Department and will give the duputies an updated flyer. They will contact the Death Valley NP rangers tomorrow.
Separately, Consuls Wu and Min drove back to San Francisco this afternoon and on the way they took Hwy 41 to Glacier Point to check and inspect the area. They saw no evidence of car accident either.
Rangers of Yosemite NP conducted more ground search today, according to Steve Yu as relayed by Consuls Min and Wu. Nothing came up. We are not aware of any ariel search today.
Vice Consul General Wang and Consul Lu arrived at the park and are staying there tonight. They met with Mr. Steve Yu and express the serious concerns of Consul General Peng. Vice Consul General Wang informed our team that the Chinese Embassy at Washington DC has contacted the U.S. State Department about the case and expressed the desire to get further assistancei and resource allocation at the federal level. TAAG thanks the diplomats for their professionalism and involvement. We are keenly aware of the difference they have made and look forward to hearing further from the Embassy regarding the State Department's response.
Three days of extensive search turned out no leads. TAAG search task force members feel that we must look beyond the thinking of accident being the primary suspected cause. We were alerted of the news article published on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution yesterday, in which it mentioned other missing persons' cases in or near the park.
Click Here for Law Enforcement Contacts for Nearby Counties and Highway Petrols: please report any relevant information immediately!
Update 9/28/2005 19:00pm EDT
Weidong CHEN got the following from Sprint-Nextel after their technical tracking:
The last communication with tower was Sept 21. (The Sept 22 communication with Yu Yan was from landline.)
Apparently, Xiaodong's phone is not only turned off but also powered down. If it is powered down, there would be no interval communication between handset and tower, so it is impossible to track and get the location at this time.
Sprint-Nextel has flagged the phone number in case at sometime it is active again, so they can immediately pick up the location at the time.
Sprint-Nextel said only if law enforcement (this means police department and FBI, not park rangers) request, they can not disclose tower location which had last communication with handset on Sept 21. TAAG will double-check with law enforcement in charge of the case to ensure it gets done.
Update 9/28/2005 15:10pm EDT
There is still no searching effort in Nye and Esmerelda counties today by their sheriff departments.
Update 9/28/2005 14:37pm EDT
YU Yan, WANG June, and HAN Baoshan are
driving along the road from Yosemite to Death Valley.
They will visit every police department to push them to do the searching. They
also will placard the flies along the road. The consulates will call the police
while they are there.
Vice Consul General WANG is heading to
the Yosemite now. Consul Wu is waiting him in Yosemite.
9/28/2005 11:35am EDT
Wang June and Yu Yan plan to drive to Death Valley and search. According to Yu Yan, Xiaodong is
a well-plan person, not likely to change the plan at last minute, but Xiaodong
did mention to Yan that should time allow, they might drive through Death
Valleyi NP. Yan and June are waiting for the police contact list along the
route to Death Valley and will get off
9/28/2005 9:59am EDT
Weidong Chen of Sprint Nextel
Corporation has asked urgent help from Sprint-Nextel Senior VP in Customer
Service. Two person assigned on this. Current status is they are working on two
things: 1) checking phone call history 2) checking if phone is still emit signal
3) if phone is working, Sprint-Nextel will check which wireless tower the phone
is close to. They will communicate more detailed person information only with
Police department in search effort if they found out later. But, they will
update us with any progress.
9/28/2005 9:05am EDT
We previously contacted Sprint for
information regarding the location of last signal coverage, which did not yield
useful information. A new request is being sent via a Sprint employee who
offered to help.
Xiaodong and Yan's family members wish
to express their appreciation to all involved in this search-and-rescue effort
and to all who expressed their concerns and offered to help.
Recap from our frontline team on what
they have done and learned:
Saturday and Sunday: Rangers searched all the parking lots
and possible parking spots along park roads for Xiaodong's vehicle (Neveda
Sunday: Yosemite ground search team has searched road 140,
120 East, 120 West, and 41 (these are all roads within Yosemite Park).
Mr. Steve Yu said the team is experienced, and some of them have 30 years of
experiences with this job.
Monday: Helicopter searched along Road 120 till Olmstead Pit
(about 60% of 120 East in the park). The helicopter could not fly through
Olmstead Pit due to low clouds. Steve was surprised when we told him about this
search, and it seems that other source (possibly media and/or government) has
pushed for this flight.
Monday: We called CHP, NHP, Mono, Inyo, Mineral, Nye,
Esmerelda, and Clark
Counties. CHP and NHP
broadcasted Xiaodong's information to patrol cars immediately. Mono county is
right next to Yosemite's East gate, the 10,000ft elev. Tioga Pass.
They have routine patrols on 120 East out of the Yosemite
gate but haven't sent a search and rescue team speciafically for this case.
Inyo county agreed to check with all hotels in Death
Valley area. We did not have cell phone signal or Internet
connection in Yosemite, and the only way to
communicate was through the land-line phone at the Ranger station.
Monday: Steve Yu and his supervisor Mr. Jim Tucker briefed Yu
Yan, Han Baoshan, and Wang Jun, who arrived at Yosemite
at night. Steve agreed to send out helicopter to cover 120 East in the park and
maybe further down towards 120-395 juction if weather permits on Tuesday. Yu
Yan's map shows Xiaodong's planned path that goes east on the narrow and
winding 120, instead of the straightforward 395. We decided to run an
additional helicopter search to cover this section of 120 as well as roads
around Mono Lake
and Mammoth Lake. This is pretty much within Mono
county's jurisdiction. Steve told us that a park ranger/investigator like him
cannot authorize a search and rescue mission beyond the park boundary. Here's
the problem: there's no cross-boundary authority such as FBI to coordinate
efforts and push this case forward. Steve and us can request and suggest, but
not authorize and command the counties' efforts.
Tuesday: We hired a private helicopter and started a really
intensive (along 120) and extensive (beyond Tioga pass) airborne search. The
helicopter went through 120 corridor and circled above lakes, slopes, and
valleys. Five pairs of eyes were aboard to seek possible skid marks, broken
tree trunks, metal pieces, and mirror reflections. Along the eastern part of
the park, tall slim pine trees along 120 can hardly hide anything beneath their
leaves or between tree trunks if viewed from above. Road 120 from Tioga Pass
to 395 junction drops more 2,000 ft in elevation and has one side next to steep
cliffs. A large section of 120 around here is above the snow line. We saw white
snow here and there and it's not hard to imagine slippery road surfaces in the
early morning. This section of 120 has been our search focus. On the most
dangerous section, we saw another smaller road at the bottom of the cliffs and
slopes next to 120. If a car skids off 120 down the slopes here, it should end
up somewhere near the smaller road at the bottom. We saw neither skid mark nor
broken tree trunk on the slopes or near the bottom. The helicopter went on to
cover the extension of 120 East that shows on Yu Yan's map. The climate here is
drastically different from that in the park. The land is dry and plants along
the road is not large enough to hide even the smallest car. This part of 120
looks much easier to drive on than that close to Tioga Pass.
There are a few small slopes down the road, but we are 99% sure no car could
possibly hide around here. Just in case Xiaodong might actually take the wider
395 down south, the helicopter flew to the Mammoth Lake,
searched the lake boundary and then flew along 395 back to the 120-395
junction. We also covered the nearby Mono
Lake on the shore and the
parking lot, before coming back along 120. Private pilot Mr. Warde Hutchings
should have faxed the summary to Ranger's office.
Tuesday: Ranger's helicopter flew again to search at lower
altitude within the park. Nothing has been heard from them so far.
Tuesday: Two consuls from San Francisco
headed towards Yosemite. We have a feeling
that the park has done quite a bit but the counties' efforts are not up to
speed. It'll be great if this case can be pushed to a higher federal level that
can corrdinate with these local jurisdictions better. (Mr. Steve Yu can not
involve FBI unless there is suspected foul play and the case is identified as a
Tuesday: Park rangers started ground search this afternoon by
walking along the path from Curry
Village to East Gate.
They will continue the work tomorrow. Park Helicopter is scheduled to fly
9/27/2005 23:14pm EDT
Email from Yu Yan's mother in China
liang xiuru 9-28
YU Yan's parents and YUAN Xiaodong's
father and brother are applying for passports and US visas. Chinese Consulate
General in San Francisco
indicates that it will provide as much assistance as possible in these
Consul Tong from the San Francisco
Consulate participated in TAAG's daily conference call this evening to offer
Helicopter hired by our team searched
outside of the park for three hours today and did not turn out any clue. Four
of our team members were on board the plane. They could fly fairly low and
could see the ground clearly.
Four people driving with a ranger toward
the east gate did not see anything special.
Consuls WU and MIN arrived this
afternoon at the park.
Chief Investigator Steve Yu, our onsite
team, the Chinese consuls and the park rangers are holding a meeting discussing
the next step.
Park rangers interviewed Curry Village
staff and confirmed Thursday night the room was used based on bedding and other
According to Mr. Michael Fakier from the
Death Valley National Park, the fixed-wing aricraft of
the park is on maintaince therefore they are not able to conduct ariel search.
The park rangers of the park have searched and checked the areas by other means
and they will continue their efforts within the park.
The sheriff departments of both Nye and
Esmerelda counties in Nevada
have received the report. So far no searching term is sent out. They haven't
received the request from any ranger yet.
The consulate of LA is also working on
Our three preson team in Yosemite that participated in a helicopter search has
already returned. The search was conducted along 120/Tioga pass eastern of the
park and the vicinity highways, lakes and nearby parking lots, and also some
search inside the park along 120/Tioga pass. However, this search didn't find
Alumni from both Northern and Southern California associations are actively working on
We talked with officer Rob Hoferer
(775-945-2434) at Mineral County (NV) PD. They were aware of the missing since
Saturday but they had not started a searching because they hadn't got any
request to do a searching. Rob suggested that we ask Mariposa County
PD to give a request to
them. Mariposa County PD
suggested letting park ranger to make the request as ranger is taking care of
the request. We called to park ranger Todd and another guy (209-372-0218), and
they would call Rob. We called Mineral County (NV) PD later. They hadn't got
the call from any ranger yet, but they had already sent a rescure team to
search the road. There is only 11 miles within their area. They will look
Mr. Ash Miller from Georgia U.S. Senator
Chambliss's office returned our call, and said they talked to Mr. Jeffrey
Tailor of the Department of Interior at Washington,
D.C. as well as to someone at Yosemite and
Highway Patrol at Nevada.
We have not been informed of what action the Dept. of Interior may take, such
as involving national forest rangers.
Inyo county sheriff department already
sent request to their officers to look on carefully on the dangerous spots
along the road.
Death Valley National Park
ranger will contact the park pilot to see whether they can start a search.
has received the search notification from Mariposa
and the flyer. They are going to post flyers on convenience store and gas
stations along the route. Their officers have been alerted but no
search-and-rescue mission was mentioned.
Consuls WU Jian and MIN Tianlong from
Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco are
renting a car and heading to Yosemito
We contracted a private helicopter to
conduct search. A two-hour search outside of the park is scheduled today.
Park rangers have stepped up the search
resource. Due to foggy condition, no flight of the park's helicopter was made
today yet. As soon as it clears up flight will be made.
Friends of Yuan are invited to sign up
to the email@example.com to discuss and offer help. Please tell the
group your name, phone number, help you may offer and relationship to Yuan's
Initially the rental car company could
not find the record for the color of the vehicle. Now we have been told that it
is a 2006 SILVER FORD TAURUS SE SEDAN. Nevada
Tag 068SWX. VIN is 1FAFP53UX6A152023. The car should look similar to this photo
of the same model:
We have prepared a flyer and our teams
will be posting copies in and near ithe park. Due to our limited resource, we
call on all concerned who are near Yosemite to
print and post as many copies as possible. Click the thumbnail for the
Mr. Yuan's family has provided a few
photos taken recently during Ms. Wang's U.S. visit since her arrival 1.5
months ago. Click the thumbnail pictures below for bigger pictures:
Mr. Yuan served as TAAG chair during the
2004-2005 term and stays as an active member of the TAAG board of directors. He
is from Beijing
and graduated from Tsinghua's
Applied Physics Department in 1993. He came to the U.S.
in 1997 and lived in Washington
state while Yan YU was a Ph.D. student there. The family moved to Georgia in
1999. He is currently a staff member at metro-Atlanta-based Encompass Group.
TAAG and other California schoolmates held meetings with
park rangers. Weather permitting, there will be more helicopter search trips
tomorrow. The park rangers conceded that the road to the east gate could have
Update 9/26/2005 20:45pm EDT
We contacted FBI field office at Sacramento three times today without any success in getting their attention. The person who last answered the call was Lisa. She would only say that a superviser may contact us. We were told by Mariposa County Sheriff Dept that because the missing people were last known to be inside the national park, which is federal land, this clearly belongs to the federal jurisdiction. The park rangers are taking charge of the case, searching inside Yosemite. We feel strongly that federal authority (e.g. FBI) involvement is crucial for areas outside of the park.
This afternoon park rangers flew one helicopter trip. Due to foggy condition, the visibility was very limited and the search did not turn out any new information.
The California team of schoolmates arrived at the park earlier today, and the Yan Yu, Baoshan Han, June Wang group arrived at the park at around 4:45pm PDT.
Georgia state senator Sam Zamarripa talked with California state senator Gill Cedillo, who is going to call the head of the highway patrol personally.
Update 9/26/2005 18:00pm EDT
Consul MIN TianLong of the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco contacted the Yosemite Park Ranger Office and talked to Steve Yu from the Rangers Office. Consul Min expressed his concerns on this matter, and advised Ranger Yu that the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco is also very concerned about the safety of the two missing persons and the search efforts by the local authorities. Mr. Min also asked to be updated ASAP if any information should surface. TAAG thanks Mr. Min and his colleagues' immediate attention upon learning the news from the Northern California Tsinghua Alumni Association.
Update 9/26/2005 15:57pm EDT
Alan Wang, reporter for Atlanta's ABC affiliate Channel 2 Action News, spoke with Yosemite National Park Ranger Scott Gediana. National Park is launching a helicopter search now.
Yan YU, wife of Xiaodong YUAN, Baoshan HAN and June WANG have arrived at San Francisco Airport. They are getting the rental car and heading the Yosemite
Update 9/26/2005 14:17pm EDT
Yosemite national park ranger office informed us that they are going to search the route around the area again. As far as the possibility that the vehicle veered off the road, the ranger said it's very unlikely, contrary to the experience of other drivers.
Update 9/26/2005 13:29pm EDT
We were told by a Yosemite National Park ranger that they do not want to do the helicopter search, neither the park's nor private cocompany's. Without a permit, we can only fly and search outside of the park area. We have been informed by members who had driving experience in the area that inside the park is the more difficult part of the mountain driving, so we wish to get the permission.
Update 9/26/2005 12:19pm EDT
TAAG is contacting private helicopter company to help the search due to the lack of local law enforcement resource. As of now local authority has not initiated search/rescue effort. They have alerted state highway patrols, but have very limited resource. TAAG board feels that we desperately need the help from local communities.
California team of three schoolmates on the way to Yosemite today and retrace the route.
Ms. YU Yan is on route to San Francisco and then go to Yosemite, accompanied by TAAG president HAN Baoshan and board member WANG Jun. "My husband and mother-in-law are in great danger. I believe they are alive and plea for everyone's help for their safe return," Dr. Yu said. Their two young boys, Marshall, 5, and Max, 2, are taken care of by TAAG board member CHEN Yuansheng and June Wang's daughter Donna Liu.
Prior to the trip, Yuan left online route map information regarding the drive from Yosemite to Las Vegas