Police upgrade missing American case to premeditated murder

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May 27, 2013, 11:29 a.m. | Ukraine — by Mark Rachkevych

Dr. Jay Sloop, 77, mysteriously went missing in Kyiv on May 14 while going for a customary morning walk in the capital's Podil district.
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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, Mark currently is editor-at-large and still contributes stories on an ongoing basis. He has written bylines with the Financial Times, Bloomberg News, Associated Press, Irish Times, and Ukraine Business Insight, among other publications. 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.

Kyiv police say that on May 20 they upgraded the case of missing American Dr. Jay Sloop to deliberate murder in order to expend additional resources in his search, which has entered its 13th day.

Police had earlier classified the criminal case as kidnapping.

Jay Sloop of Washington State, 77, went missing on May 14 following a customary morning walk he took in Kyiv’s Podil district and was last seen at 7: a.m. near the entrance of Zamkova Hora Park, video feeds show.

He had been in Kyiv since May 8 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.

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

Police launched a nationwide search for the former obstetrician as soon as Jeff Sloop filed a police report on May 15 when he arrived to help search for his grandfather. Police told the Kyiv Post that migration and customs services have also been notified.

And according to his son’s blog, Ukraine’s KGB successor agency, the SBU, is also involved, but the Kyiv Post hasn’t been able to confirm to what extent, if any, the government’s national security body is involved.

Posters of missing American physician Dr. Jay Sloop have been hung up throughout Kyiv.

Quoting his brother, Randy Sloop who is in Kyiv to help search for his father, Greg Sloop blogged: “The U.S. Embassy has said (this disappearance) is extremely rare. It seems very difficult to imagine that he could just get lost, slip and fall, those kinds of things. I think it’s likely there’s some kind of criminal element here. What the motivation would be would just be wild speculation.”

When the Kyiv Post met with police search and rescue officers on May 20 in Zamkova Park, they said they hadn’t ruled out criminal activity in Jay Sloop’s bizarre disappearance.

Local and American volunteers, including the police and three American search and rescue personnel have thoroughly searched the Zamkova Hora Park wooded area.

Randy Sloop said his father 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


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