December 11, 2015

Body of Missing Adventist Doctor Found in Ukraine

, communications director, Upper Columbia Conference

Ukrainian police have identified a body recovered from a ventilation shaft of an abandoned building in Kiev as that of Dr. Jay Sloop, the U.S. physician from Yakima, Washington, who went missing while on a Seventh-day Adventist health training visit to the country in 2013.

Although DNA tests have not been completed, police said it appears Sloop’s body was recovered from a building next to the park where he went missing on Tuesday, May 14, 2013. 

Jay Sloop, a physician from Yakima, Washington. (UCC)

Officials say the building was abandoned at the time of the doctor’s disappearance. Renovation work on the building recently began, leading contractors to make the discovery while removing a wall in the basement of the building adjacent the ventilation shaft.

Clues that helped police identify Sloop, 77, include the clothes he was wearing the day of his disappearance and his wallet containing some identification.

“We grieve with the Sloop family, and we look forward to the day when we will see Jay again in heaven,” said Paul Hoover, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Upper Columbia Conference, where Sloop served as health ministries director. “He was a light and an encouragement to so many in Yakima, the [U.S.] Northwest, and around the world. I invite you to join me in praying for Jay’s entire family in this difficult time.”

Ukrainian police were conducting a forensic investigation to attempt to determine more details surrounding the death.

Prior to his disappearance, Sloop had been serving on a three-week mission trip with a team of health professionals helping the Adventist Church in Kiev set up a lifestyle center. As was his custom, Jay went for an early morning walk on the day of his disappearance. His fellow team members became concerned when he did not arrive at the appointed time for breakfast.

An extensive search, which involved hundreds of people, including U.S. Embassy personnel, bloodhounds from Ukraine and Germany, and a citywide media blitz, turned up no evidence leading to Sloop’s whereabouts.

Sloop served as a physician in Yakima until his retirement. He remained actively involved in health outreach, including serving as the health ministries director for the Upper Columbia Conference, whose territory covers eastern Washington, northern Idaho, and parts of northeastern Oregon.