by Jay Wintermeyer
SPOKANE, Wash., May 17, 2013 - Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Sloop family as searchers continue to look for Dr. Jay Sloop.
The search continues to center on Zamkova Gora, a park in downtown Kiev where city surveillance cameras recorded Sloop entering the park Tuesday morning. He was not seen leaving by that entrance. Images from a private camera near the only other park entrance were finally obtained Thursday. After reviewing many hours of data, it was concluded Sloop did not exit that way either.
"While this information has helped to narrow the search, it does not make things easy," says Dr. Fred Hardinge, a colleague who was with Sloop in Kiev last week. "The park is not flat with manicured lawns as one might assume. Rather, it is a flat-topped hill with very steep sides covered in some rocky outcroppings, trees, brush and bushes and some patches of long, untrimmed grass. A set of steel stairs leads 200-250 feet up to the top." The top of the hill is a primitive and unimproved dirt path that circles the crown as well as bisecting the forested areas in several directions.
The Seventh-day Adventist church has a representative from Adventist Risk Management on the ground in Kiev coordinating search efforts. Thursday, the search efforts consisted of 30 students and about 80 church members in addition to the search efforts conducted by the Sloop family.
Friday, the search efforts included help from the police, students and church members. In addition, about 16 volunteers from the Military Police and Marine detail for the U.S. Embassy in Kiev came to help search the park in grid fashion. These young men offered their own free time for at least the next two days when they learned of Sloop’s disappearance.
On Saturday, in addition to continuing search efforts at Zamkova Gora, local Adventist churches plan to give members copies of Sloop’s photo to canvas other surrounding areas.
Viktor Alekseenko, Ukraine Adventist Union President says, “Every day groups of people from area churches and police are involved in the search. We are doing everything we can to provide all possible help and assistance in the search for Dr. Sloop.”
In the wake of Sloop’s disappearance, the U.S. Embassy in Kiev has asked that Adventists from around the world try to limit all unnecessary calls to the embassy. According to an embassy staffer, they’ve never had so many calls, and are amazed that a church could generate so many.
Sloop disappeared Tuesday while walking in Kiev, Ukraine where he had been serving on a mission trip with a team of health professionals for the past three weeks helping the local Adventist church set up a lifestyle center in Kiev. Sloop went for an early-morning walk by himself and did not arrive at the appointed time for breakfast.
Story Updated 1 p.m., May 17, 2013 Please visit www.sloop.net/wordpress for the most recent updates.
PREVIOUS UPDATE 4 p.m., May 15, 2013 The search efforts to find Dr. Jay Sloop who disappeared Tuesday are ramping up in Kiev as searchers uncovered possible clues Wednesday as to Sloop’s whereabouts.
According to the family blog, they feel they have narrowed things down to a wooded park in Kiev called Zamkova Gora. In order mount a thorough search, they need as many volunteers as possible.
Jeff Sloop, a grandson, arrived in Kiev Wednesday. He asks people to contact any friends in Kiev and the surrounding area that could possibly take some time to search tomorrow. Please share this information with as many people as you can via email and social media during the next few hours. Every hour that passes may be critical.
Specific plans for the search, meeting time and location are listed on the family blog. www.sloop.net/wordpress/?p=36.
Even though they remain hopeful, this is a difficult time for the family and for the many people who know and love Dr. Sloop. We continue to solicit your prayers for everyone involved in the search and for Dr. Sloop’s safe return.
PREVIOUS UPDATE 3 p.m., May 15, 2013 - After much searching the family believes they may have narrowed the search down to one park. A massive search is planned first thing Thursday morning for Dr. Sloop. Anyone in Kiev is invited to participate, especially people with mountaineering skills and equipment. Read the family blog for more info.
This is a difficult time for the family and for the many people who love and know Dr. Sloop. We continue to solicit prayers for everyone involved in the search and for Dr. Sloop's safe return.
PREVIOUS UPDATE 10 a.m., May 15, 2013 - Local police, the US Embassy, the State Department and the FBI have all been notified of Dr. Sloop's disappearance. A careful search has been made of all the areas where Dr. Sloop was known to walk and the surrounding vicinity. We still have no word on Jay's whereabouts.
The family has set up a blog to share information at www.sloop.net/wordpress. If you have contacts in the Ukraine you believe might be helpful, please communicate those contacts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please continue to pray for all those involved in the search and for Jay's safe return.
PREVIOUS UPDATE 3 p.m., May 14, 2013 - Local police were called in Tuesday. They searched Dr. Sloop's room for clues. Meanwhile the search continues.