KyivPost

Police deploy search and rescue units, cadaver dog in search of American doctor (updated)

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May 20, 2013, 5:57 p.m. | Kyiv — by Mark Rachkevych

Dr. Jay Sloop went missing in Kyiv on the morning of May 14 and was last seen near the entrance of Kyiv's Zamkova Hora Park in the Podil neighborhood.
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Mark Rachkevych

Mark has been a reporter for the Kyiv Post since 2006, but joined full-time in 2009. A native Chicagoan where he was the co-founder of the now defunct Glasshouse Magazine, Mark currently is an editor of business news and still contributes stories on an ongoing basis. He is a former U.S. Peace Corps volunteer, a graduate of St. Norbert College in Wisconsin, and fluent in the Ukrainian and Russian languages.

(Editor's note: this article contains a corrections to a date that was incorrectly reported earlier.)

Police on the morning of May 20 deployed eight search and rescue officers, and in the afternoon, a cadaver dog in Kyiv’s Zamkova Hora Park in the Podil neighborhood to continue the search for Dr. Jay Sloop where the retired American physician was last seen at 7: a.m. on May 14, according to a Kyiv Post reporter who was on location.

The Kyiv Post reporter spoke with multiple plain-clothes Interior Ministry officers while retracing the American’s last recorded steps.

As the police units canvassed the area equipped with repelling gear, Jay Sloop’s grandson gave the dog handler a worn sock of his grandfather who held the German Sheppard’s jaw shut while holding it in front of its snout for several seconds.

This is the seventh day that the 77-year-old former obstetrician has been missing following an usual morning walk in the Podil district where he was stationed while on a medical mission for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, for whom he works as a health care director at the church’s regional headquarters in Spokane, Wash.

Randy Sloop, one of Jay Sloop’s three sons, told the Kyiv Post that his father had been in Kyiv since May 8 when he flew in late that night.

Security camera footage, some of which is based on motion sensors, shows Sloop’s movements from the morning of May 14. He was seen walking toward the entrance of Zamkova Hora but not exiting, even though the park has another exit that leads to Andryivsky Descent, a popular tourist street where souvenirs are sold. Camera footage in that area doesn’t show Jay Sloop, according to Randy Sloop.

First Jay Sloop used an ATM across from Zhytniy Rynok, one of the city’s oldest markets, but was denied a money withdrawal, his son Randy Sloop said. From there he continued his route toward the entrance of the park, footage shows from at least five cameras.

His grandson told the Kyiv Post that his grandfather had left his cell phone in his bedroom at the church's compound, and added that he hadn't purchased a local SIM card for his phone.

Posters of missing American physician Jay Sloop have been hung up throughout Kyiv offering a reward for information leading to his discovery.

The plain clothes officers with whom the Kyiv Post on May 20 spoke under the condition of anonymity because they’re not allowed to speak with the press, said they still haven’t ruled out criminal activity in Jay Sloop’s unaccounted disappearance.

Scent dogs usually can pick up a human’s trail up to 6 to 13 hours after their disappearance. After this time, they are used to locate a scent randomly in a given area to locate concealed bodies.

Kyiv police spokesperson Ihor Mikhalko, however, told the Kyiv Post that there is a nationwide search underway for Jay Sloop. Police on the ground in Podil said the search has been treated nationally ever since Jeff Sloop filed an official police report on May 15 when he arrived from the U.S., adding that migration and customs services at Ukraine’s borders have been notified.

According to Jeff Sloop and Randy Sloop, the American doctor’s grandson and father, respectively, up to 30 local and American volunteers have already thoroughly searched the Zamkova Hora Park area.

Three American search and rescue specialists who flew in with Randy Sloop on May 18 have also conducted their own search of the area to no avail. Randy Sloop added that Jay Sloop’s body hasn’t been found at many of Kyiv’s hospitals and morgues that have been contacted.

The Sloop family has been also been assisted by U.S. embassy personnel, including some of the U.S. Marines stationed there, many of whom volunteered to help search for the doctor on May 17.

On the day Jay Sloop went missing, he wore dark-blue trousers, a striped, light-blue button-up shirt with clip-on suspenders, and had on a pair of tennis shoes, according to his grandson.

His son, Randy Sloop, said he had no known medical conditions.

An undisclosed award is being offered for information leading to Jay Sloop’s discovery at 093-936-8305 or 093-986-9246. Ukrainian- and Russian-language speakers can also call the police at 102.

Kyiv Post editor Mark Rachkevych can be reached at rachkevych@kyivpost.com.

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