Nats Catcher Wilson Ramos Rescued In Venezuela | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Nats Catcher Wilson Ramos Rescued In Venezuela

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Update Saturday, Nov. 12, 8:00 a.m.: The two-day search for the kidnapping of Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos ended Friday night, after the 24-year-old baseball player was rescued by the Venezuelan police and National Guard, reports the Associated Press.

Authorities arrested five men in the kidnapping. One of the men included was a Columbian who was "linked to paramilitary groups and to kidnapping groups," reports Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami to AP News.

During the kidnapping, Ramos said there was minimal communication between him and his abductors. They placed him in a room and asked him to cooperate.

Ramos is reportedly unharmed, but will undergo medical checks and be reunited with his family afterward.

Update 7:00 p.m.: Nationals fans in the District are holding a candlight vigil in support of kidnapped Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos. A somber crowd of die-hard fans gathered outside of the centerfield gate with candles lit in hopes of the safe return of Wilson Ramos.

A fan at Nationals Park says he hopes the Ramos family and the kidnappers are listening tonight, so that they know it's not just a Venezuelan concern, but a concern for his fans here in America, as well.

Update 1 p.m.: Scores of friends and neighbors of the Ramos family, who are devout evangelical Christians, held a candle-light vigil and prayer circle outside the home in Venezuela where 24 hours earlier, the Washington National's catcher was abducted by armed gunmen. They held signs that read "God is with you, he is your refuge, nothing will happen to you."  Other signs read, "Enough is enough, return Wilson."

That frustration was also echoed outside the baseball stadium where Ramos was scheduled to play winter ball. Several dozen university students held a candle-light vigil there.

Original Story: Venezuelan police investigators believe that kidnapped Nationals baseball player Wilson Ramos  is alive, according to news reports out of Venezuela. Those reports also indicate that police think an organized band of kidnappers, either from Venezuela or Colombia, may be behind Ramos' kidnapping.

Ramos was with his father, brother, and friends at the family home when  four heavily armed men  forced him into a stolen SUV, says Ramos' agent, Gustavo Marcanos. That SUV has been recovered, according to media reports. There is evidence that Ramos had been tailed while he visited his family home in Venezuela and his movements noted as he was preparing to play winter ball for the Aragua Tigers baseball team, investigators tell Venezuelan media outlets.

Venezuela's Interior Minister Tarek al Aissaimi says no efforts will be spared to free Ramos and find those responsible. It's the first time that a major league ball player has been kidnapped in Venezuela, however, several relatives of baseball players have been kidnapped in the past and released after ransoms were paid. 

It's expected that Ramos' kidnappers may demand millions of dollars for his release, although no demands have been made public as of yet. Last year there were 895 official reports of people kidnapped in Venezuela.

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