Ms. Ana Soto (72 years old) was kidnapped on Thursday August 8 in her hometown of Maracaibo, western Venezuela. According to the initial investigation, while talking to neighbors in the workers’ neighborhood, Mrs. Soto was dragged into the car by a group of men driving a truck and then drove away. According to Soto, at that time her son, Elias Diaz, had just left about 15 minutes after returning to visit his mother before returning to Florida for spring training. After learning the bad news, Diaz declares to accept all the conditions as long as her mother is safe.
The special forces tracked down the tracks and found Ms. Soto held in the home of a police officer, not far from the city. The examination results at a nearby hospital showed that Ms. Soto’s health was good. Mr. Douglas Rico, who is in charge of the police investigation force of Venezuela, posted on Twitter a picture of Soto being fed and drunk after being successfully rescued. Mr. Rico also revealed that the family did not lose any of the ransom.
Six people (5 of whom are Zulia state police officers) were arrested for their involvement in Soto’s kidnapping. It is worth mentioning that one of the police officers arrested was Ms. Soto’s neighbor. These people had”provided all necessary information” to conduct the abduction above.
Sports stars with good salaries are always the target of lucrative kidnapping in Venezuela and South American countries. So the MLB football teams regularly warn Venezuelan athletes to be cautious when returning home because sports stars and their relatives are always a favorite target of kidnappers.
In 2011, Wilson Ramos – who captured the ball for the Washington Nationals Club, was kidnapped while visiting his family in the city of Valencia (Venezuela). A few days later, the athlete was rescued by security forces from his high mountain confinement. Last year, baseball player Juan Manaure’s 15-year-old son was kidnapped and killed during Manaure’s Christmas vacation in his hometown.
Kidnapping in Venezuela has skyrocketed over the years as the economic crisis in the country has worsened. The State Department has also issued warnings that cross-border violence, kidnapping, drug trafficking and smuggling are frequent in the state of Zulia, where Ms. Soto is kidnapped, as well as in Tachira and Apure.