Sue Kim Hanson, 35, her husband, Peter, 32, and their only child, 2-year-old Christine, were traveling to California to visit relatives in North Hollywood.
Relatives said Sue Kim Hanson, a genealogist, was overjoyed about visiting Southern California for the first time in four years. Though born in Pasadena, she spent her early childhood in Korea before returning to Los Angeles.
When Hanson's cousin Frency Cho spoke with her Sunday night, she asked if she craved any special food for her visit. "She said, 'Everything Korean. Everything.' "
Her husband was vice president of a computer company and the family lived in Groton, Mass.
Hanson's brothers and cousins all gathered late Tuesday in North Hollywood to break the news to her 83-year-old grandmother, Ok Kim. The grandmother had raised Sue Kim Hanson after her parents had died of cancer.
"She couldn't believe it," Cho said. "Today it's more of a reality to her. She is crying and crying all day."