Multiple reports out of Venezuela are indicating that the mother of Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz was rescued on Sunday. His 72-year-old mother was kidnapped on Thursday while at her house. Noticias Venezuela, a site with 818,000 followers on Twitter, was the first to report the news and other sources in Venezuela have been picking up on the news as it continues to get out.
Reports on Saturday morning noted that the driver of the getaway van was arrested. That was followed shortly by five police officers from Zulia being detained in regards to the kidnapping. One of them was a neighbor of Diaz, who reportedly told everyone when Elias Diaz left the house to go fishing on Thursday morning. The kidnapping happened 15 minutes later.
Police have been working quickly to find Diaz’s mother due to her need to take daily medication for both hypertension and diabetes. The reports indicate that they were expecting to find Ana Soto last night, but it appears that she wasn’t found until sometime this morning. She was “safe and sound” but went to a medical center to get treatment.
More sites have confirmed the rescue since I started this article, so it appears that this difficult situation has a happy ending.
UPDATE MONDAY 10:36 AM: Frank Coonelly issued a statement:
“The Pittsburgh Pirates are relieved and overjoyed to learn that Elias Diaz’ mother, Ana Soto, has been rescued and safely reunited with her family. 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.”
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.