Authorities Rescue Urbina's Mother
Urbina's mother was recovered Friday
Urbina's mother was recovered Friday
Senior Editor
Posted Feb 19, 2005

CARACAS, Venezuela -– After more than five months in limbo, Venezuelan authorities rescued the abducted mother of Tigers’ reliever Ugueth Urbina. The kidnappers, who had demanded a $6 million ransom for her safe return, fled, but at least one is thought to be dead.

Ugueth Urbina was finally re-united with his mother, 54-year old Maura Villarreal on Friday after more than five months of separation. Villarreal was originally abducted on September 1st, at which point Urbina left the Tigers and returned home to Venezuela to be with his family.

When asked for comment just before getting to see his mother, Urbina replied, “I’m happy. Excuse me, but now I just want to see her.”

With the help of an anti-kidnapping unit of the Venezuelan government, officers moved in on the kidnappers’ camp and rescued Villarreal unharmed. They used an estimated thirty officers, arriving at an abandoned tourist camp called “Las Nieves” (where Villarreal was being held) by boat on the Guaniamo River.

The abduction of Villarreal was just another in Latin America, where it is estimated that at least three-fourths of the world’s kidnappings occur. It is believed that Villarreal was kidnapped because of her relationship to Urbina; a millionaire baseball pitcher who the kidnappers probably assumed had the money and would pay. Going on the advice from authorities, Urbina did not pay.

It’s very possible that Urbina’s arrival in Lakeland was delayed because of the impending raid and attempted rescue of his mother. The Tigers originally reported a driver’s license problem was the reason for his tardiness, but that no one was worried. Urbina is still expected in camp early next week.

As of Friday night, the Tigers organization had yet to comment on the situation (Ed. note: The Tigers did not release an official comment, but were informed by the Commissioner's Office of the situation Friday night and that she was in the hospital as a precautionary measure. They're relieved the ordeal has come to a close and wish Urbina's family the best).

But from all accounts thus far, it appears that a potentially disastrous situation has ended well for Urbina and his family.

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