Home > News > 2013 > May >
Volunteer Physician Missing from Adventist Mission Trip in Ukraine
Submitted: May 15, 2013
By AT News Team

Updates added at the end on May 16, 18, 26 and 31

A massive search is being organized for Thursday morning (May 16) to find Dr. Jay Sloop, a physician from Yakima, Washington, who was in Kiev, Ukraine, with a team of volunteers helping the Seventh-day Adventist Church set up a lifestyle medicine center there. The 77-year-old takes a walk every morning, usually with friends, but left the place he was staying by himself at 6:45 on Tuesday morning despite the fact that a roommate could not accompany him. He told the roommate that he would be back for breakfast in 45 minutes, according to The Spokesman-Review, a Spokane daily newspaper, but did not return.
Local police were called the same day, according to the Web edition of the North Pacific Union Conference Gleaner. By the next morning the United States Embassy, the State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had been notified. Wednesday afternoon "the family believes they may have narrowed the search down to one park," the Gleaner announced. This park will be the focus of the search on Thursday.
"He was recorded on security video leaving," the Yakima Herald Republic quoted Jay Wintermeyer, communication director for the Upper Columbia Conference where Dr. Sloop has served as health ministries director since he retired from private practice in 2005. "His passion is for teaching lifestyle change to communities," stated The Statesman-Review.
The news media in eastern Washington have reported that Dr. Sloop has been staying in a hotel with other volunteers, but the Adventist Review news editor, Mark Kellner, stated that he was staying at the Ukrainian Union Conference office and had agreed to meet the others at the home of the local health ministries director. The Gleaner online edition states that the family has set up a blog to share information at sloop.net/wordpress, but Adventist Today has been unable to find that site on the Web.
"He's a pillar of our church," KEPR-TV, the CBS affiliate in Pasco, Washington, quoted Nita Hinman, a friend and Adventist church member. "He's a pillar of our community and I just can't say enough good things about him." Pastor Harry Sharley told the television station that Dr. Sloop's family was flying to Ukraine immediately. "It comes as a real shock," the pastor was quoted. "We are praying and hoping Jay Sloop is found well and able to return here to the Yakima Valley."
Dr. Sloop is a 1960 graduate of the School of Medicine at Loma Linda University. He completed residencies in internal medicine and obstetrics-gynecology at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska. From 1969 to 2005 he had a private practice in Yakima and provided inpatient care and taught classes at Total Health Lifestyle Center. He has been in the Ukraine for the past three weeks, reported NBC television."
Adventist Today will update this story as it is able to talk to a family spokesman and information comes in from the search.

Additional on May 16

A search of Zamkova Gora park started at 8 a.m. local time on Thursday (May 16), according to Sloop family members in Kiev. There are a number of very steep areas in this park and the goal is to conduct a thorough grid search. On Wednesday evening the family appealed for anyone with rock climbing gear and experience to assist in certain areas. Jeff Sloop, a grandson of Dr. Sloop's, flew to Kiev from his student missionary assignment at Nile Union Academy in Egypt to assist with the search, Adventist Today was told by Russell Gilbert, a long-time friend of Dr. Sloop's in Yakima.

Gilbert called Sloop "a prince of a man," and said that he enjoys nature and has climbed Mount Rainier. Gilbert stated the he had climbed Mount Adams with Sloop. Dr. Sloop hasn't climbed mountains for a few years, Gilbert said, but he is still quite active. "He is in good shape for a 77-year-old. He walks often; leaving for a walk is not uncommon for him."

Adventist Today has confirmed that the blog which the family is using to provide regular information can be accessed here:  http://www.sloop.net/wordpress/

At the end of the day in Kiev on Thursday (May 16) a family spokesman reported on the blog that only three people had been able to join the search that day. It was a rainy day there. No report of anything found.

Additional on May 18

Friday night (May 17) Dr. Jay Sloop's son Greg reported on the family blog that a large group of volunteers were able to complete a grid search of the park on Friday. No sign of Dr. Sloop was found.

Greg also reported that Dr. Sloop had made an ATM transaction shortly after he left for a walk in Kiev Tuesday morning, but it was for a modest amount and there was no sign of distress in the pictures or anyone in the background. “No bank transactions have been attempted ... since,” Greg wrote. In addition, Greg said there have been no reports of a kidnapping.

“We are doing everything we can to provide all possible help and assistance in the search for Dr. Sloop,” the Yakima Herald qouted Pastor Victor Alekseenko, president of the Ukraine Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Greg wrote in the family blog that despite language differences, Adventists in Kiev have been working hard to help find the doctor.

Additional on May 26

Friday (May 24) Sloop's grandson Randy went to the police station and met with the lieutenant in charge. He was told that the police have decided this is a kidnapping or murder. It is no longer a local police case but has been upgraded to the national police.
The family members in Kiev, together with staff from the union conference and other volunteers have been following up reported sightings, but these have, repeatedly, turned up nothing credible. They continue to gather video feeds and review them.
Sloop's son Greg most recently wrote on the family blog, "This is really, totally and completely in God’s hands. Realizing we are powerless and that God is the one in control is hard – but it’s clear we’re not going to solve this ourselves. So, we keep asking for his intervention, and to help us realize his direction and the will to follow where he leads."

Addendum May 31

The family members who flew to Kiev have returned home empty-handed. The disappearnce of Dr. Sloop is still an open case for the police in Ukraine. A family representative stated that every lead has been followed-up, several different kinds of dogs have been used in the search, and repeated searches of the area where they thought Sloop might be have been completed by well-qualified, large groups. Nothing has been found. They do not have absolute proof that Sloop is dead, but everything has been done that can be done. No clue has surfaced to explain his disappearance.


Share your thoughts about this article:

Seminary student
2013-05-17 1:30 PM


Kerry & Marian Forschler
2013-05-17 6:47 PM

Kerry & I went to Total Health in 1989 & got to know Dr. Sloop. We are praying--a lot.

George Tichy
2013-05-18 1:07 AM

Last place I would ever go is any territory related to Russia during the Soviet era. My parents escaped from Czechoslovakia in 1948,  right after it fell to the Communists. 
Americans should think twice before going to those places. And be prepared for "strange and misterious" thinks to happen. Especially to Americans.
Hope he will be found well.

Truth Seeker
2013-05-18 8:40 AM

Also praying for Dr Sloop; that he will be found unharmed. His family also needs our prayers.

Edwin A. Schwisow
2013-05-18 12:25 PM

My late father, Don Schwisow, M.D., volunteered with Total Health Foundation  in the early 1990s, soon after he retired, and continued to do so for several years. I met Dr. Sloop once to discuss ways to promote Total Health Foundation more widely. I was impressed with Dr. Sloop's dedication and almost youthful enthusiasm (though he surely was well into his 50s by that time).

The life of an international health entrepreneur is never an easy one, and not always safe (as a family we have harrowing tales to tell of 13 years in mission service in Latin America and the Caribbean.). Our family earnestly hopes and prays that Dr. Sloop will by God's grace persevere and survive any ordeal he may be experiencing as he follows the healing example of Jesus.... 

2013-09-25 9:04 PM

More than sixty years of Isaiah 58 ministry and teaching health to those who would listen led my father and mother to donate their estate to the Total Health Foundation after one of their reps contacted them asking if they would be willing to donate it all.  Because of the good reputaion of Dr. Jay Sloop, and the good work that his foundation did, and in line with everything our family believed in and tought, our deed was signed over.  Not too long after this sizable donation, in a conversation with Dr. Jay Sloop, we learned that the Total Health Foundation was no more, and that a man took up the name using the reputaion of Total Health to solicit donation.  So when Jenkins were solicited to donate their intire life estate to the Total Health Foundation, we, my father and mother, thought they were donating it to the Total Health that Dr. Sloop was involved with and that Dr. Ludington recomended.  Sadly it was all a hoax, and this was no fault of Dr. Aileen Ludington or Dr. Sloop.  Dr. Sloop was so kind in sending us a letter which we have on file that explains we are not dealing with the people we thougth we were donating to.  It was shortly after this fact that my father and family were forced off the land and out of a home we lived in for fourty years.  The forced move was in November during a snow storm, one week from my fathers one hundredth birthday.  

This may seem a bit off topic, however, when your in God's seat looking at the big picture, their is a deeper and greater understanding of life and the events that effect our lives, so with that in mind it may not be too far off the topic.  

Mom and dad thought ("thought" only because Total Health with Dr. Sloop dosn't exist anymore) so highly of Dr. Jay Sloop and the Total Health Foundation, they were willing to give almost all we had to them, we donated the Meadow Springs Lifestyle Center thinking it was Dr. Sloop.  Amazingly it didn't actually go to Sloop and Total Health, and we couldn't reverse it.  This was a total loss to the health and homeless ministry our family did all these years but we know God has a purpose in all this and we will be faithful to our Savior until Jesus come.

Now, after surviving a kidnapping of my own in the Philippines back in 1010, and facing false charges for homicide when my son and I escaped, I am deeply saddened to know that our dear brother Sloop is in this situation.  I am willing to travel to the Ukraine if necessary to help.  But for now, and today, what we will do is pray and trust God.  I will keep praying, and I want to say, please join the Jenkins family as we pray for Dr. Sloop.  Pray that grandpa will come home, and that God will protect him.

Elaine Nelson
2013-09-25 11:37 PM

With EVERYONE,  no exceptions for Adventists, particularly--Never, never, never give money or valuable property on someone's name or based on reputation.  It would make a lengthy list if all those who invested in others because they were either SDA or SDA-recommended, it would make a book. 

BTW:  I have several such books in my book shelves.


You do not have sufficient permissions to post a comment.

Log In to Post a Comment. Log In | Register

Adventist Today Magazine is published quarterly by Adventist Today Foundation

Phone: 503-826-8600   |   Email: atoday@atoday.org   |   Web: atoday.org