Wilson Ramos sheds a few tears, gives thanks for dramatic rescue
Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos and Venezuelan law enforcement authorities revealed Saturday the details of his kidnapping and subsequent dramatic rescue by police who swept into a remote location with guns blazing.
Speaking to reporters at a police station in Valencia, Venezuela, a day after being rescued, a tearful Ramos said he was thankful to have survived the ordeal. "I didn't know if I was going to get out of it alive," he said, according to an Associated Press report.
Ramos is believed to be the first player among Major League Baseball teams with training facilities in Venezuela to be taken hostage in the country. But security there has deteriorated in recent years, as reported recently in Fabulous Forum. The number of big-league teams training in Venezuela has dwindled to five, down from 21 in 2002.
Ramos’ kidnapping set off a national outcry and prompted the Venezuelan government to mobilize a large security force to search for him.
In the brazen abduction, Ramos was snatched Wednesday just outside the front door of his family home in Valencia while standing with his father and two brothers.
The abductors demanded a large ransom, Ramos said. But their plans went awry after investigators found the kidnappers' stolen SUV in nearby mountainous region. That clue led them to the general area where Ramos might be, the AP says, and President Hugo Chavez authorized extensive search missions by air and ground.
Once the house where Ramos was being held was identified, commandos descended and a gun battle ensued. Authorities did not say whether anyone was wounded, and reports varied on the number of people arrested. Four or five alleged kidnappers were in custody as late Saturday.
Tweets of relief and congratulations were sent out on Twitter on Saturday: "its a great ending to a scary story"; "Welcome home Wilson Ramos!!!"
Shane Victorino, Philadelphia Phillies center fielder, tweeted: "#Happy to hear about the safe and unharmed return of fellow @MLB player #WilsonRamos .....! Great job authorities."
-- Amy Hubbard