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Monday, November 9, 2009
Police still searching for kidnappers

Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Assailants who kidnapped the mother of former major league pitcher Victor Zambrano in Venezuela only decided to take her after they found little of value during a burglary, police said Monday.

Rafael Romero, a federal police investigator, said seven armed men burst into the home of Elizabeth Mendez Zambrano at her son's farm near Maracay on Sunday morning and kidnapped her because they didn't find large amounts of cash and jewelry as they had expected.

The kidnappers have yet to contact the 56-year-old woman's relatives to ask for ransom, Romero said. Authorities are searching for the kidnappers. Police are hoping the assailants contact the family so investigators can gather more clues, he said.

"The information we have is that she remains captive," Romero said. "So far, there's been no contact with the relatives. We hope that occurs soon."

Zambrano's mother was abducted nine days after the former big league pitcher's cousin, Richard Mendez Zambrano, was kidnapped and later killed.

Romero refused to comment whether the two incidents were related.

In Venezuela, which is home to dozens of major leaguers, the families of wealthy athletes are periodically targeted by kidnappers. Colorado Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba's son and brother-in-law were released by kidnappers a day after they were abducted in June.

Zambrano played seven big league seasons for Tampa Bay, the New York Mets, Toronto and Baltimore. The right-hander had a career record of 45-44 with a 4.64 ERA. He currently plays in Venezuela's winter league. He hasn't appeared in the majors since 2007.