UPDATED: Ramos Rescued In Raid
Ramos survived an ordeal.
Ramos survived an ordeal.

Posted Nov 10, 2011


UPDATED: Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was rescued in a dramatic raid.

UPDATED STORY: The scene began as a nightmare for Wilson Ramos, before seeming like a movie and finally ending with his freedom from kidnappers who abducted him.

The Nationals catcher said he did not eat and constantly prayed during his two days of captivity in his native Venezuela before police commandos won his freedom after exchanging heavy gunfire with his kidnappers.

"It was impressive, something I had only seen in the movies," Ramos told media early Saturday morning, according to The Washington Post. "If it had not been for them, who knows what would have happened to me?"

Ramos had been abducted Wednesday by four armed men and carted to remote mountains in central Venezuela, he said. A hood covered his eyes, Ramos said, for the several hours it took to reach the kidnappers' destination, a shack located, according to government officials, in the town of Montalban, which is in the state of Carabobo.

There, 40 miles from the comfort of the home he had enjoyed hours before, Ramos feared for his life, his only solace a spiritual one.

"I had just asked for God, at every moment, to get me back to my home," he said.

When the kidnappers spoke, Ramos said he recognized Colombian accents, but not their identities. They told him they wanted money. Kidnapping from groups traveling to Venezuela from Colombia has been a problem in the country with wealthy and middle class people targeted. The captors arrested at the scene were four Venezuelan men, according to authorities.

When he was served food, Ramos would not eat, fearing its contents.

"It was so painful," he said, according to the Post. "To be locked inside there with these guys I did not know. Understand? I did not even want to eat, wondering what was in the food."

The moment that finally enabled Ramos' freedom did not come with relief. Instead, it was among the most harrowing of his time in captivity as shots rang out and Ramos took cover.

"There were many shots fired," he told the reporters. "I couldn't do anything but get under the bed, to pray, to cry."

Finally, amid the bedlam, came a glimpse of hope as police shouted his name.

"That's when I responded because I couldn't even speak," Ramos said.

The rescue was the culmination of a vast search by Venezuelan police, national guard and other government law enforcement, officials said. The discovery of the SUV used to take Ramos gave officials confidence and helped lead to rescue, Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami told reporters at a press conference Saturday.

President Hugo Chavez was informed of the break in the case and briefed at times, El Aissami said.

Four captors were arrested after the commandos were able to emerge victorious in the battle, according to authorities.

The four were all Venezuelan men in their 20s, El Aissami said. Also arrested, for providing supplies to the kidnappers, were a 60-year-old woman and 74-year-old man.

Back in Washington, where fans had kept a vigil for the player who shined in his first full season last year, there was more consolation.

"I am happy to announce that I have spoken directly with Wilson and he assures me he is unharmed but eager to be reunited with his family," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. "He asked me to thank all who played a role in his rescue, and all those who kept him and his family in their thoughts and prayers.

"I join Wilson in thanking the many law enforcement officials in Venezuela and investigators with Major League Baseball who worked tirelessly to ensure a positive ending to what has been a frightening ordeal."


Original Story

While information is still sketchy and minimal, it is known that abductions and kidnappings are at record high levels in the South American nation.

Among the most popular targets are wealthy individuals, and Ramos would fit into that category.

Ramos, 24, is playing for the Tigres de Aragua this winter. He is expected to be the starting catcher for the Nationals next season.



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