UPDATE, 10:23 a.m. Post correspondent Juan Forero spoke with Ramos this morning outside his home in Venezuela. Here is a preview of what a grateful and exhausted Ramos had to say, from Forero:
“It was impressive, something I had only seen in the movies,” Ramos, a soft-spoken 24-year-old, said, his voice cracking as he spoke shortly after 3 a.m. in front of his family’s home. “If it had not been for them, who knows what would have happened to me. I had just asked for God, at every moment, to get me back to my home.”
The final moments of his captivity had been hair-raising, Ramos recounted, as police and the kidnappers exchanged heavy fire in the remote mountainous area in the center of the country, he told the Post.
“It was something super hard,” he said. “There were many shots fired. I couldn’t do anything but get under the bed, to pray, to cry, and then I felt a great relief when I heard the police yell my name. That’s when I responded because I couldn’t even speak.”
Dressed in a blue t-shirt, his siblings and cousins hugging him as he spoke, Ramos said that he was taken on a lonely mountain road, a trip that took three or four hours, and then kept in a dingy shack. He had been hooded but not tied up. He said he never knew who had kidnapped him, but Ramos said they had Colombian accents. Various irregular armed groups from Colombia, including that country’s largest rebel group, operate inside of Venezuela, kidnapping for ransom.
“It was so painful,” he said of his ordeal. “To be locked inside there with these guys I did not know. Understand? I did not even want to eat, wondering what was in the food.”
ORIGINAL POST: This morning in Valenica, Venezuela, not long ago, Wilson Ramos arrived back into his home and reunited with family, more than 60 hours after he had been dragged at gunpoint outside the house into a vehicle and into captivity. This from Post correspondent Juan Forero:
Ramos walked to the metal grate in front of the front patio of the house and talked to a big crowd of well wishers and family who’d waited for 5 hours for him.
“Thank God, I’m alive and here at home,” Ramos said. “I thank you for everything. I don’t have words to express all that I feel, and how thankful I am for all your help. Thank you, for real. I really love you.”
Ramos said he had been rescued following a torrent of gunfire between police and his assailants. This story has some of the latest details, quotes from family members and the scene last night. It will be updated later in the morning with details from Forero’s conversation with Ramos.
Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo released a statement this morning saying he had spoken directly with Ramos, and Rizzo thanked authorities who helped ensure Ramos’s safe return.
“I am happy to announce that I have spoken directly with Wilson and he assures me he is unharmed but eager to be reunited with his family,” Rizzo said. “He asked me to thank all who played a role in his rescue, and all those who kept him and his family in their thoughts and prayers. I join Wilson in thanking the many law enforcement officials in Venezuela and investigators with Major League Baseball who worked tirelessly to ensure a positive ending to what has been a frightening ordeal. The only detail that concerns us tonight is that Wilson is safe. The entire Washington Nationals family is thankful that Wilson Ramos is coming home.”