December 11, 2015:    Ukrainian police have identified a body recovered from a ventilation shaft of an abandoned building in Kiev as that of Dr. Jay Sloop, the Adventist physician from Yakima, Washington, in the U.S. His body was recovered from a building next to the park where he went missing on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, according to a news release from Jay Wintermeyer, communication director of the denomination’s Upper Columbia Conference.

Officials say the building was abandoned at the time of the doctor’s disappearance. Renovation work on the building recently began, leading contractors to make the discovery while removing a wall in the basement of the building adjacent the ventilation shaft. Clues that helped police identify Sloop include the clothes he was wearing the day of his disappearance and his wallet containing some identification.

“We grieve with the Sloop family, and we look forward to the day when we will see Jay again in heaven,” said Pastor Paul Hoover, president of the conference where Sloop served as health ministries director. “He was a light and an encouragement to so many in Yakima, the Northwest, and around the world. I invite you to join me in praying for Jay’s entire family in this difficult time.”

At the time of his disappearance, Sloop was part of a three-week mission trip with a team of health professionals helping the Adventist Church in Kiev set up a lifestyle center. As was his custom, Jay went for an early morning walk on the day of his disappearance. His fellow team members became concerned when he did not arrive at the appointed time for breakfast.

An extensive search, which involved hundreds of people, including U.S. Embassy personnel, bloodhounds from Ukraine and Germany, and a citywide media blitz, turned up no evidence leading to Sloop’s whereabouts.

Sloop served as a physician in Yakima until his retirement. He remained actively involved in health outreach.

The Upper Columbia Conference includes 127 congregations in parts of three U.S. states; Washington, Idaho and Oregon. Its total membership is 26,500 in a population of nearly two million. Walla Walla University is located in its territory. Positive Life Radio, a major Christian radio network operated by Adventists is based at the university.