UPDATE: Venezuelan authorities said Friday they found Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos alive, days after he was kidnapped.
More to come on this breaking news story.( Fri Nov 11 17:00:52 PST 2011 $__output )
Latin American newspaper El Universal reported on the moments leading up the kidnapping of Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos.( Thu Nov 10 17:02:34 PST 2011 $__output )
Ramos was kidnapped at his Valencia, Venezuela, home Wednesday evening.
El Universal said the 24-year-old catcher had been signing autographs at his house when a group of men came for him. They arrived in an orange Chevrolet Captiva SUV, which had been stolen from downtown Valencia earlier that day. The SUV was later found abandoned.( Thu Nov 10 16:25:30 PST 2011 $__output )
El Universal says the assailants choked Ramos and placed a 9mm Glock pistol to his head.
"We don't know many details," family friend Marfa Mata said. "He was there with the family at the porch and three guys came here and took him and abducted him. We don't know anything about him since last Wednesday."
On Thursday, Venezuelan law enforcement said they believe Ramos is still alive, but have not offered any further information about the catcher. So far, no information has been released about the kidnappers' demands.
A group of children playing baseball outside told El Universal they witnessed the kidnappers emerge from Ramos' house.
Investigators hope to have sketches of the kidnappers based on eye witness descriptions soon. They also said they may have found a second vehicle related to the kidnapping.
Neighbors told the paper that Ramos had not been flashy with his relative wealth. In 2011, Ramos earned the league minimum salary, $415,000, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
Venezuelan law enforcement said on Thursday that a kidnapping specialist group had been detailed to the case.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Mark Toner also said Thursday that although Ramos is not a United States citizen, the agency is closely monitoring the situation. Toner said the State Department is ready "to help in whatever way possible."
Fans supporting Ramos and his family have started a website, FreeWilsonRamos.com.
A fan-organized vigil was held at 6 p.m. Friday at Nationals Park. The vigil developed after Alicia Durfee tweeted Thursday night for people to go to the park Friday. She said Friday morning she's received messages asking for more details.
Those attending were reminded the Navy Yard Metro station is closed for maintenance. More information here.