A group of kidnappers abducted Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos from his home in Venezuela Wednesday night (Nov. 9).
According to the Washington Post, the 24-year-old was back in his native country to play in a winter baseball league for the Aragua Tigers, and was sitting outside of his home with his family when a group of men drove by twice before stopping and forcing him into a four-by-four vehicle.
Although Venezuelan officials have confirmed that Ramos is still alive, the kidnappers have still not contacted his family.
The Nationals and Major League Baseball issued a joint statement saying, “Our foremost concern is with Wilson Ramos and his family and our thoughts are with them at this time. Major League Baseball’s Department of Investigations is working with the appropriate authorities on this matter. Both Major League Baseball and the Washington Nationals have been instructed to make no further comment.”
Seven other Nationals players are in Venezuela right now for the winter league, and the Washington Post reports that no decision has been made to keep or pull them from the country. The league, however, will play on.
“Suspending any ballgames will not help Wilson Ramos at all,” says winter league president Jose Grasso. “Turning the lights off is not a solution. We will keep wilson present in our thoughts and prayers, but suspending activity won’t help.”
Kidnapping has become a huge problem in the South American country. According to the BBC, a Venezuelan think tank called Incosec estimates that the country saw 1,179 kidnappings in 2010, which evens out to about three per day. The Post cites a U.S. State Department report that estimates 9.2 kidnappings occur per 100,000 inhabitants in Venezuela.