• Kidnapped Baseball Player Found Alive In Venezuela

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    Major league catcher Wilson Ramos has been “found alive,” two days after he was reported kidnapped by gunmen, Venezuelan state media reported.

    Ramos was found by security forces in Montalban, a mountainous region about 60 miles from the north central Venezuelan town where he was last seen.

    I would like to announce with much happiness the rescue operation for the Venezuelan baseball player Wilson Ramos that took place in the state of Carabobo,” Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami said on VTV. “The day that we learned of the lamentable act we informed the country that all of the efforts of all the government under President Hugo Chavez, the efforts of the police would go into the operation.”

    Ramos, a rising star for the Washington Nationals as a rookie this past year, was in his native country to play in Venezuela’s winter league.

    But before his first game with the Aragua Tigers, gunmen kidnapped him Wednesday night from his mother’s home in Santa Ines, a team spokeswoman said.

    On Thursday, authorities said that they had found the SUV they believe was used in the kidnapping and had created sketches of two of the gunmen.

    Washington Nationals officials applauded the news.

    “The news from Venezuela tonight is reassuring. Though details are limited,” said Mike Rizzo, the team’s general manager “We are eager to see Wilson and let him know just how many all over the world have been waiting for this news.”

    Ramos, 24, emerged as the team’s top catcher this past season. He had a .267 batting average with 15 home runs and 52 runs batted in.

    “It has all the earmarks as a targeted kidnapping: selected victim, selected location, selected time,” said Chris Voss, a kidnapping specialist for Insite Security who has handled six cases involving Venezuela and who worked for the FBI for 26 years. “There’s an outside possibility that they thought they were grabbing another member of the family, but that’s extremely unlikely.”

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