Pirates' Elias Diaz's Mom Rescued After Being Kidnapped by Corrupt Cops

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 28:  Elias Diaz #32 of the Pittsburgh Pirates looks on during batting practice of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 28, 2017 in Washington, DC.  The Nationals won 5-4.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Ana Soto, the 72-year-old mother of Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz, has been freed by Venezuelan police after being kidnapped, according to BBC News

Her six kidnappers included five police officers in the Zulia state police force, according to the report. She was kidnapped in Maracaibo, a western city in Venezuela, and was found in the home of a police officer.

"Officials said one of the officers arrested was a neighbour who 'provided all the information needed' to carry out the kidnapping," BBC News reported.

According to Douglas Rico, the head of Venezuela's investigative force (CICPC), no ransom was paid to the kidnappers. Soto was abducted Thursday just 15 minutes after Diaz left her home, and she was rescued on Sunday. 

Marly Rivera of ESPN shared a photo of Soto after her rescue: 

"The Pittsburgh Pirates are relieved and overjoyed to learn that Elias Diaz' mother, Ana Soto, has been rescued and safely reunited with her family," Pirates president Frank Coonelly said in a statement (via CNN.com). "We are incredibly grateful for the swift and effective work of the local law enforcement officials in Venezuela who brought this terrifying act to the safe conclusion for which we had all prayed. As an organization, we will continue to support Elias and his family as they move forward together."

As BBC News noted, athletes and their families are popular targets for kidnappers in Venezuela. Tampa Bay Rays catcher Wilson Ramos, then with the Washington Nationals, was kidnapped in the country in 2011 when visiting family in Valencia and was "freed from a mountain hideout by members of the security forces a few days later."

Additionally, Juan Manaure's 15-year-old son was kidnapped and murdered last year while the basketball player was back in the country celebrating Christmas.

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