Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped in his native Venezuela Wednesday night and the vehicle in which he was taken has been found.
Ramos, 24, was at home in the Santa Inés neighborhood, located in the country's state of Carabobo, when four armed men took him away in an SUV, The Associated Press reported. A source close to the family told The AP that Ramos was in the house with his father and brothers when he was taken away.
Ramos went back to Venezuela to play a few games with the Tigres de Aragua, The Washington Post reported.
That team's spokeswoman Kathe Vilera tweeted Thursday morning that the car in which Ramos was taken was found in the municipality Bejuma, also located in Carabobo. In the same tweet, she said that nothing else has happened and that no one has contacted the family.
The team's manager Manuel Rodriguez tweeted Thursday morning that reports saying Ramos was found dead are not true.
There are no reports of a ransom request.
Ramos has been playing in the Major Leagues since his debut in May 2010, according to the MLB Web site.
Fans have expressed grief over Twitter and Facebook.
Prayin for you Wilson Ramos, one person tweeted.
Tweeted another: So sad to hear about Nats Catcher Wilson Ramos. Please let him make it back safe.
Venezuela has one of the highest crime and murder rates in the world, according to the U.S. Department of State. A 2011 Overseas Security Advisory Council report stated that Venezuela has a critical criminal threat level, and also noted that kidnappings -- traditional, express and virtual -- are a growing industry.
The AP noted that the families of professional baseball players have been kidnapped in Venezuela before, including the mother of former MLB player Victor Zambrano in 2009 and the son and brother-in-law of Yorvit Torrealba. Zambrano's mother was rescued and returned three days later, while Torrealba's family members were returned the following day, The AP reported.