Yesterday, we reported that 24-year-old Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos had been abducted in his native Santa Ines, Venezuela by four unidentified men in an SUV.
Kidnappings are common in Venezuela, but the incident marks the first time a Major League Baseball player has been abducted. And as the abduction approaches the 48-hour mark, no contact has been made with the young player’s kidnappers, a worrying development that has thrust Ramos’ family into excruciating uncertainty. When news of the kidnapping broke yesterday, a spokesman for the athlete’s winter team confirmed:
“This is sad, worrisome and true that Wilson Ramos has been kidnapped.”
Ramos was in Venezuela to play for the winter league, and family friend Tamara Corredor stepped out of the family home briefly to answer questions about Ramos:
“He grew up here, he felt calm here, and he felt safe,” she said, stepping outside of the family home. “His mother is now just crying, and then for a moment she calms down. They are very religious, evangelicals, very, very religious. . . . They are very united. They always look out for each other.”
Worryingly, it would seem ransom is the motivation in the case, and the Washington Post points out that demands are likely to far exceed the ability of anyone on Ramos’ behalf to meet them:
“[A crime expert in the region] said with a big target like Ramos, a ballplayer who earned $415,000 in 2011, the culprits are likely to be part of a criminal organization, rather than a fly-by-night team. If they do make contact with the family, Cedeno said, it will likely not be to demand a dead-drop location but rather to give instructions in the first stage of a complex operation in which money is deposited in foreign accounts.
“Ten to 20 million dollars in this case,” he said, “that is what I would expect.”
No demands have yet been made to secure Ramos’ safe release.