• Updated at 2:35 pm EST: Reports from the Venezuelan Investigative Police Force within the last hour have confirmed that 24-year-old Washington Nationals' catcher Wilson Ramos is still alive, refuting rumors that have spread through social media. A press release that just came out moments ago from Revista CICPC begins with the authorities denying a report that a body had been found. Edwin Rojas, Vice-Minister of Interior Policy and Security for the Interior Relations and Justice Ministry, was quoted widely in reports this morning, including this one from El Carabobeno, saying that he expected a quick resolution to the kidnapping. "'We have faith in the quick resolution of this case," Edwin Rojas, Vice-Minister of Interior Policy and Security for the Interior Relations and Justice Ministry, declared on Friday.'"
Reports this afternoon (sent out on Twitter by @RafaelRojasC) say that 300 law enforcement officers are working to find Ramos and authorities have discovered a second car used in the abduction. The press release from Venezuelan authorities also mentioned the possibility that, "... more people are involved in the incident, since research indicates that it is a criminal gang."
In a series of reports on Twitter this afternoon, Kathe Vilera (@KatheVilera), spokesperson for the Tigres de Aragua, Ramos' team in the Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional, denied the reports that Ramos had been found dead, and asked that those spreading the rumors refrain from doing so. "'He has a family, he's a father and he's a son,'" Marfa Mate told El Carabobeno reporters, "'and these messages just create anguish and could even slow the investigation,' Mata said."
• Read this morning's updates + A video news report from Venezuela via YouTube.
• (ed. note - "Many thanks to Dara Lind (@DLind) for help with translations from the articles quoted above.")
"Another long night waiting. Not a message or call about Wilson. Keep praying," Marfa Mata (@MarfaMata) wrote on Twitter this morning. Mata, as we've learned in the last few days, helped kidnapped Washington Nationals' catcher Wilson Ramos adjust to a new country when the one-time Minnesota Twins' prospect left Venezuela to play in the majors. She remains a friend of and now spokesperson for the Ramos family. Mrs. Mata, Viva Colorado writer Rafael Rojas and Tigres de Aragua team spokesperson Kathe Vilera have become familiar names in the last two days as the world waits for good news out of Venezuela and an end to the nightmare scenario which began Wednesday night with Mr. Rojas' reports on twitter about the abduction of the 24-year-old major league catcher's abduction.
"Still no news regarding Wilson Ramos, the kidnappers have not made contact. It only remains to be patient, pray and have faith," Kathe Vilera wrote within the last hour. Mr. Rojas (@RafaelRojasC) shared the front page of a newspaper from Venezuela this morning which quotes Ramos' sister telling reporters, "Wilson is alive and he'll be back soon," though Marfa Mata repeated on Twitter within the last few minutes, "... nothing yet. We have received no news!"
As all of the Nats beat writers have updated this morning, there's an AP report out of Venezuela which says that authorities have, "turned to 'advanced' investigation tactics, including aerial optics," as Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore put it. "There are reports in Venezuela of aerial operations being involved," Washington Times' reporter Amanda Comak wrote. "Aerial operations underway in Venezuela, as authorities apparently take their investigation to another level," as NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman reported.
The car used in the kidnapping was found abandoned yesterday. As AP reports last night noted, the authorities have sketches of two of the suspects. Still there has been no reported contact with the kidnappers, and no word on Wilson Ramos since vague reports that the police had confirmation he was still alive yesterday, though no explanation was provided about how that fact was confirmed. When there are any updates we'll post them here, but sadly, two days in there is still not much to report. Games continued in the Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional last night. Hot Stove chatter continues to pour out over Twitter, and Wilson Ramos' family, the Nats community and everyone caught up in this story just waits.