The vehicle used to kidnap Wilson Ramos, 24-year-old rookie catcher for the Washington Nationals MLB team, was discovered in Venezuela on Thursday, the morning after he was reported missing.
Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami confirmed that the vehicle was found on Thursday. "It's a very important find," he said.
After the MLB season, Ramos returned to his home in Venezuela to play for the winter league team, the Aragua Tigers. However the MLB rookie was taken from his mother’s house by four gunmen on Wednesday night in the city of Valencia.
Katherine Vilera, spokeswoman for the Tigers, released a statement on Wednesday evening following reports of Ramos’ kidnapping.
“It’s true, Wilson Ramos was kidnapped 40 minutes ago,” Vilera said. “The CICPC are up on this and were going to his house in Santa Ines. They took him from his house.”
Enrique Brito, an official in the Venezuelan winter league, expressed concern for the repercussions that may stem from the incident.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen now. It’s going to be bad for the culture, for the league, for everything,” Brito said. “Wilson is one of the best players that we had. It’s real bad, for all Venezuelan people and fans.”
The country is one of the most dangerous in Latin America, with ransom kidnapping continuing to increase in most recent years. Domingo Alvarez, vice president of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League, admitted that he was worried about the situation.
“The abductors haven't made contact with the family or with anyone," Alvarez said in a telephone interview, ESPN reports. "We're worried."
Despite the severity of the situation, league president Jose Grasso said the season would continue as planned in the midst of “an isolated event.”
"Turning out the stadium lights isn't a solution," Grasso said.