Major League Baseball player Wilson Ramos was found alive Friday by Venezuelan security forces in the mountains near where he was kidnapped, Reuters reported.
Information Minister Andres Izarra confirmed on Venezuelan state TV that the 24-year-old Washington Nationals catcher is alive and secure.
Ramos recently finished his rookie season with the Nationals (batting .267, with 15 home runs and 52 runs batted in). He has become a centerpiece of the rising Nationals team.
The catcher returned to his homeland to play winter-league ball for the Aragua Tigers, NBC Sports reported.
Ramos was visiting family in the Santa Ines district of Valencia, Venezuela, when he was abducted late Wednesday by four armed men, who lunged toward him, guns drawn, while he was chatting with friends and family. He was taken away in an orange Chevrolet Captiva sport utility vehicle, according to the Twitter account of a representative of the Aragua Tigers.
Venezuelan police found the kidnappers' SUV Thursday morning abandoned in the Montalbán neighborhood of the small city of Bejuma, about 25 miles west from Valencia, while gathering evidence, Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami told reporters.
El Aissami said that evidence-collection teams had been at the abduction scene since Ramos was kidnapped Wednesday evening and that the best kidnapping investigators were searching for a lead that would take them to Ramos.
The team seems to have succeeded at finding and securing Ramos alive.
Venezuela has a violent history of kidnappings, and victims are often held for notoriously steep prices. Although Ramos' friends and family expected a ransom to be demanded, the captors never contacted them.
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