Doctor missing in Kiev, Ukraine

May 20, 2013 01:17 pm

Searchers continue to look for former La Grande physician  

YAKIMA, Wash. — The search effort for a former La Grande physician missing in Kiev, Ukraine, is set to focus on a park in the city, searchers said last week.

In a blog post, Dr. Jay Sloop’s son, Greg, said resources were being trained on Zamkova Gora, a heavily wooded urban park in the Ukrainian capital of 2.8 million people. He asked volunteers to assemble Thursday at 8 a.m. local time at the Seventh-day Adventist Church on Luk’yanovskaya Street.

“Ask anyone you know in Kiev to come out and search for Jay,” he wrote on the blog

His father, a retired obstetrician who delivered babies for more than 35 years in Yakima, Wash., was last seen Tuesday morning after he left for a walk.

After graduating from Loma Linda University Medical School in 1960, Sloop worked in general practice in La Grande, did an OB-Gyn residency in Los Angeles and served in the Air Force for two years before starting his practice in Yakima.

The 77-year-old doctor was on a medical mission for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, for whom he works as health care director at the church’s regional headquarters in Spokane.

Jay Wintermeyer, a church spokesman in Spokane, said one of the doctor’s grandsons flew to Kiev on Wednesday and is helping direct the search effort.

He said searchers concluded the park would be the best place to mount a hoped-for grid search and that volunteers with mountaineering skills were needed. “This area is heavily wooded, and it has some very steep sections,” he explained.

Wintermeyer said the State Department in Kiev has been notified of the doctor’s disappearance, as have local police.

“They’ve been involved in the process,” he said of Kiev police. “They came and interviewed people where Dr. Sloop was staying. They looked through his room for possible clues.”

As for speculation as to what happened to the doctor, Wintermeyer said one possibility is a heart attack or stroke that may have incapacitated the doctor.

“Our hope is that he’s just stuck and can’t walk or something,” he said, adding, “It’s really hard to speculate. We don’t know what happened.”