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November 09, 2011

Venezuela: Vehicle Used in US Baseball Player Kidnapping Found

Officials in Venezuela say they have found the vehicle used by armed men to kidnap Venezuelan national and U.S. Major League Baseball player Wilson Ramos from a home in the city of Valencia Wednesday night.

Venezuelan Interior and Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami Thursday told reporters that police found the abandoned vehicle in a nearby town and that locating it will allow authorities to speed up the entire investigation.  Aissami also said authorities will spare no effort to rescue Ramos, a 24-year-old catcher for the Washington Nationals.

Ramos had been visiting with family at a private home in Valencia when several men went to the residence and snatched him.  Ramos was in Venezuela to play with his winter league team, the Aragua Tigers.  Investigators say there has been no word from his captors.

Major League Baseball and the Nationals issued a joint statement Thursday, saying their foremost concern is with Ramos and his family and that "our thoughts are with them at this time."  The statement said Major League Baseball's department of investigations is working with the appropriate authorities on this matter and that there will be no further comment.

Relatives of major league players have been kidnapped in recent years in Venezuela.

The mother of former player Ugueth Urbina spent more than five months in captivity until she was rescued in 2005.

In 2009, the son and brother-in-law of Major League Baseball catcher Yorvit Torrealba were kidnapped but released a short time later.  Also that year, the mother of now-retired pitcher Victor Zambrano was rescued, three days after she was abducted.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.