VALENCIA, Venezuela — His eyes tearing up with emotion, Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos embraced his rescuers Saturday and said he had wondered whether he would survive a two-day kidnapping ordeal that ended when commandos swept into his captors’ mountain hideout.
Ramos said he was happy and thankful to be alive a day after his rescue, saying his final moments as a prisoner were hair-raising as police and the kidnappers exchanged heavy gunfire in the remote area where he was being held. He said his kidnappers had carefully planned the abduction and told him they were going to demand a large ransom.
“I didn’t know if I was going to get out of it alive,” Ramos told reporters at a police station in his hometown of Valencia, flanked by police investigators, National Guard commanders and Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami. “It was very hard for me. It was very hard for my family.”
El Aissami said authorities arrested four of the captors, all of them Venezuelan men in their 20s. A 60-year-old woman and a 74-year-old man were also arrested as accomplices for supplying the kidnappers with food from their home in the area, he said. The six suspects were led past journalists at the police station with black hoods over their heads.
Authorities were still searching for four Colombian men who escaped during the rescue, El Aissami said. He didn’t say whether anyone was wounded in the gun battle.
Ramos, 24, was seized at gunpoint outside his family’s home Wednesday night and whisked away in an SUV. It was the first known kidnapping of a Major League Baseball player in Venezuela, and the abduction set off an outpouring of candlelight vigils and public prayers at stadiums and outside Ramos’ house.
RED SOX: Boston interviewed Gene Lamont for its managerial opening.
The former Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago White Sox manager is the last of five candidates scheduled to interview. New Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington has already brought in Torey Lovullo, Sandy Alomar Jr., Pete Mackanin and Dale Sveum.
The Red Sox have been looking for a manager since parting ways with Terry Francona after the team’s 7-20 record in September left it out of the playoffs for the second year in a row.
Lamont has been the third-base coach for the Detroit Tigers since 2006. He also had that job with Boston in 2001.
He managed the White Sox from 1992-95 and Pittsburgh Pirates from 1997-2000.