Tigers pitcher’s family target of attempted kidnapping

Published On March 3, 2013 | By Arielle Aronson

A possibly dangerous situation was quickly neutralized by Venezuelan police Friday night when local police thwarted the attempted kidnapping of Tigers pitcher Brayan Villarreal‘s family, FoxSports.com reported.

Villarreal’s father, mother and 14-year-old brother returned to their home in Valencia, Venezuela Friday night only to encounter a group of robbers. According to Villarreal’s agent, Hector Gomez, the robbers put a gun in Villarreal’s father and brother’s mouths and threatened to kidnap everyone if they reported the robbery to police.

Fortunately for the Villarreal family, a neighbor called the police after deeming activity at the home suspicious, and after some gunfire between the police and the assailants, the family was rescued. They have since been moved to a different location in Venezuela following the attack. According to Gomez, Villarreal wants to move his family to the United States, but he may not be able to do so in the near future as it is believed the robbers stole the necessary immigration documents.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time a Major League Baseball player or his family has been targeted in Venezuela. In 2011, Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped and held captive for several days before he was finally rescued unharmed. In 2010, Padres shortstop Alexi Amarista‘s father was murdered by robbers after attempting to fight his assailants.

While Villarreal’s family is safe for now, the fear remains for Villarreal and many baseball players with families back in Venezuela.

“It was a really dangerous situation,” Gomez said. “Thank God that no one is hurt, but the family had to leave the house and go somewhere else for fear of being attacked again. Brayan is well and he’s focused on the upcoming season, but it’s really not that easy to play baseball in peace while your family is going through something like that at home.”

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About The Author

Arielle Aronson is a sports writer and recent graduate from Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Print Journalism Magna Cum Laude. Arielle has a passion for sports cultivated from growing up with two older brothers. She also enjoys playing the piano, reading and traveling.