The top investigator for Venezuela's federal police said Monday no suspects have been identified in the kidnapping of Maura Villareal, the mother of Detroit Tigers pitcher Ugueth Urbina.
"There's really nothing new so far," said Henry Zerpa, revealing that the family has still not been contacted by the kidnappers.
Villareal was kidnapped last week by four men disguised as police officers. The men took Villareal from a house owned by Urbina in suburban Caracas.
Police say the men also kidnapped a teenager who was at the house at the time, working on a car.
Joel Rengifo, director of the country's anti-kidnapping police, says the men also took 1 million bolivares ($520 U.S.) - money Villareal had on hand to pay workers at the house.
"They were dressed as policemen, they identified themselves as members of the judicial police and they had uniforms from that force," said the pitcher's brother Jose Urbina. He said he didn't know if the kidnappers knew she was the mother of the Major League pitcher.
Urbina learned about the kidnapping some time after Wednesday night's 1-0 loss to the Royals.
"When we got on the plane, he told me about it," Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski told the Detroit Free Press.
The Tigers announced last week that Urbina had left the club to go to Venezuela, and the team is working with Major League Baseball and its Venezuelan contacts to assist the pitcher.
Urbina's father was killed in Venezuela while resisting car thieves in 1994, while the pitcher was in the Montreal Expos' farm system. He was arrested in Venezuela on gun charges this past January, but it was determined he had fired in self-defense during an attempted robbery. He also left the Tigers briefly at the end of June to deal with a family problem back home.
Kidnappings and violent crime are common in Venezuela, where athletes and celebrities are frequent targets of kidnappers - and are often returned safely after a ransom is paid.
Attacks on baseball players and their families are also not unprecedented, according to the Tigers web site, which notes that two years ago, a baseball camp run by the Mariners in Venezuela was attacked by armed robbers.
The Tigers web site further recalls that five years ago, Tigers second baseman Omar Infante - a native of Venezuela - suffered the heartbreak of having his older brother - a minor league prospect - shot to death. The Infante family, says the Tigers, also received death threats and wound up having to move away from the neighborhood that had been their home.