Ramos: Ordeal left me mentally damaged
Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos said he was unharmed physically but "very damaged" psychologically after being freed from his kidnapping.
Ramos was reunited with his family at home Saturday, hours after he was brought to safety when Venezuelan security forces overcame his captors in the northern mountain region town of Montalban.
The operation late Friday ended a 50-hour ordeal which began when Ramos was brazenly snatched at gunpoint in front of his mother’s house near his home city of Valencia, around 40 miles southeast from where he was eventually rescued.
"The truth is I’m still very nervous, but thanks to God everything turned out well," Ramos told Venezuelan state television, according to The Washington Post.
Ramos earlier said he asked God to get him out alive and return him to his loved ones while being held at a darkened site he likened to a jungle.
The 24-year-old catcher said his last moments in captivity were possibly the most harrowing as Venezuelan security forces stormed the remote mountain hideout where his captors were keeping him.
"You could hear a lot of gunfire," Ramos told reporters, according to AFP. "It was pretty tough…I feared for my life, and worried that I might never again see my mother, my brothers."
In brief comments to reporters, the 24 year old said the nightmarish experience "did not hurt me physically, but psychologically it gave me very large damage."
Venezuela’s interior minister Tareck El Aissami confirmed the success of the rescue operation late Friday amid joyous scenes across the country. On Saturday, he said that six Venezuelans had been arrested and authorities were still pursuing five Colombians in connection with the case, including the operation’s mastermind, AFP reported.
Ramos told reporters Saturday he thought his kidnappers were from Colombia.
"I don’t know who they were, but I know they were Colombians because of their accents," he said, according to AFP.
Ramos had been in his native Venezuela to train with the Aragua Tigres, a Venezuelan league team he plays for during the Major League Baseball offseason.
He said he will play in the winter league despite the abduction and would resume his training regimen Monday, AFP reported.
"I want to stay here so that the Venezuelan people can see me play here, which is what they want," he said.