Vi Ripken, mother of former Baltimore Orioles player Cal Ripken Jr., has… (Doug Pensinger / Getty Images )
Nearly 24 hours after being abducted at gunpoint from her garage in a small town near Baltimore, the mother of baseball great Cal Ripken Jr.was found rattled but unhurt in her car on her own street, police said Wednesday.
The armed kidnapper demanded no ransom for 74-year-old Vi Ripken’s release, and his motive is unknown, investigators said.
Ripken, the matriarch of one of the strongest American baseball dynasties, lives alone. She is the widow of former Orioles manager and coach Cal Ripken Sr., and mother ofCal Ripken Jr.and former Orioles second baseman Billy Ripken.
The gunman entered Ripken's garage between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. Tuesday, forced her into her 1998 silver Lincoln Continental, then drove off, police said.
Around 8:30 p.m. the police received a report of a suspicious vehicle near the border of Baltimore and Harford counties. The caller provided the license plate. A check on the plate brought up Ripken's name, prompting a multi-agency investigation.
About 10 hours later, with the search in full swing by the FBI, local police and Maryland State Police, Ripken's car somehow was brought back to her own street. Uniformed patrol officers found Ripken on Wednesday at 6:15 a.m. in the back seat of the Lincoln Continental, her hands bound, police said.
Aberdeen is 30 miles northeast of Baltimore, where her Hall of Fame son’s baseball complex is located.
In a brief news conference Wednesday, Aberdeen Chief of Police Henry Trabert told reporters that the suspect was armed and dangerous. The abductor was white, tall and thin, in his late 30s or early 40s, wearing a light-colored shirt, camouflage pants and eyeglasses, Lt. Fred Budnick of the Aberdeen Police Department told the Los Angeles Times.
It is not clear whether the suspect had ties to the Ripken family, or whether he knew whom he was abducting, Budnick said.
“This has been a very trying time for our family, but we are grateful and relieved that mom is back with us, safe and healthy,” the Ripken family said in a statement. “We want to thank everyone for their tremendous support, especially all of the law enforcement agencies that worked so hard and quickly.”
The family said it could not comment further because the investigation is continuing.
Cal Ripken Jr., a longtime Baltimore Orioles player, earned the nickname “Iron Man” for playing in 2,632 consecutive games over 21 years. He voluntarily ended his streak in 1998 and retired in 2001. He is one of eight players in baseball history to achieve more than 400 home runs and 3,000 hits.
His mother is the founding chairwoman of the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, which, according to its website, helps build character for disadvantaged youth.
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