“They got him,” Mercano said. “He’s safe.”

Ramos was freed in the mountains of Montalban in the state of Carabobo in central Venezuela, said the government’s Communications Minister, Andres Izarra. The area is roughly 40 miles northwest of Valencia, where four gunmen abducted him Wednesday evening.

The phone call to his family suddenly and happily ended more than 50 hours of praying and waiting for Ramos’s family. They had hunkered down over the past few days, nervously yearing for any kernel of information or hope.

“It’s a special moment for his family,” Mercano said. “We’re all happy. We’re grateful.”

In the background over the phone, Ramos’s family could be heard chanting, “Wil-son! Wil-son!”

More to come.