The kidnapped mother of Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz has been found. As People reports, 72-year-old Ana Soto was taken from her home in Maracaibo, Venezuela while hanging out with her neighbors.
Her son was with her as he had been visiting. He had left the home just 15 minutes prior to the kidnapping.
According to the BBC, she was found in the home of a police officer where she was being held. It appears that officials within law enforcement were involved in the kidnapping. Six people, five of them officers with the state police force, were arrested in connection the abduction. As the news organization shares, sports stars are often targets of kidnappings in the area due to the possibility of the abductors obtaining large ransoms.
Soto was taken for a medical check-up at a nearby hospital. She is said to be in good health. No ransom was paid in this incident.
The team released a statement addressing their relief over the outcome of the incident: “The Pittsburgh Pirates are relieved and overjoyed to learn that Elias Diaz’ mother, Ana Soto, has been rescued and safely reunited with her family,” the statement said. “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.”
Diaz himself did not share an update on social media. However, back in June, he shared a sweet photo of him with his mother. He called her, "the woman of my life."
As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports, kidnappings have been on the rise in Venezuela following government instability and a violent political situation. Other Pirates players have spoken out against the Venezuelan government, including Felipe Rivero and Francisco Cervelli. “It's hard to wake up every day and [see] what has happened,” Felipe Rivero said last year. “You see people dying. You see pictures every day. And you try not to take that into the game. It's tough.” “All the Venezuelan athletes in the world, we’ve got to make noise,” Francisco Cervelli said.
[Photo: Getty Images]