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Officials detail rescue of grateful Ramos

VALENCIA, Venezuela — Tearing up, Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos embraced his rescuers and said he had wondered if he would survive a two-day kidnapping ordeal that ended when commandos swept into his captors' mountain hideout.

Ramos said Saturday he was thankful to be alive a day after his rescue, and the final moments had been hair-raising as police and the kidnappers exchanged heavy fire in the remote area where he was being held.

"I didn't know if I was going to get out of it alive," Ramos told reporters at a police station in his hometown of Valencia, flanked by police investigators and National Guard commanders. "It was very hard for me. It was very hard for my family."

El Aissami said authorities arrested four captors, all Venezuelan men in their 20s. A 60-year-old woman and a 74-year-old man were also arrested as accomplices for supplying the kidnappers with food from their home in the area, he said. The suspects were led past journalists at the police station with black hoods over their heads.

Authorities were still searching for four Colombian men who escaped during the rescue, El Aissami said. He didn't say whether anyone was wounded.

Ramos, 24, was seized at gunpoint outside his family's home Wednesday night and whisked away in an SUV.

El Aissami said investigators' first break came when they found the stolen SUV, a bronze Chevrolet, abandoned in the town of Bejuma alongside the mountains of central Carabobo state. They ended up checking on a rural house authorities believed had been used in a previous kidnapping.

An SUV parked outside had mud on it even though there was no mud in the area, El Aissami said. Investigators determined the house was probably used by the kidnappers as a support base while holding Ramos elsewhere, he said.

President Hugo Chavez authorized an aerial search mission and teams also set out on foot, El Aissami said.

BOSOX SEARCH: The Red Sox interviewed former Pirates and White Sox manager Gene Lamont for their managerial opening, the last of five candidates to interview.

Officials detail rescue of grateful Ramos 11/12/11 [Last modified: Saturday, November 12, 2011 7:17pm]

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