Former Giants C Torrealba still fears for family in Venezuela
PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) – Although Yorvit Torrealba’s son is safe, the San Diego Padres catcher still fears for the rest of his family.
Nine months after his son was kidnapped by five men in Caracas, Venezuela, and later returned unharmed, Torrealba said his son and wife are now living in Miami and adjusting to their new lives.
The rest of Torrealba’s family remains in Venezuela, and he’s concerned for their safety.
“It’s hard because I have a big family,” Torrealba said. “I’d love to buy a big enough house. I wish I could bring all of them here and move them in.
“I do worry about it. It’s been hard. I feel safe because I’m the player. If they kidnap me, who’s going to give them the money? I don’t feel like my family is safe.”
Torrealba has good reason.
On Nov. 30, 2008, the brother of New York Mets catcher Henry Blanco was kidnapped and later killed by his captors in Venezuela. This past November, the mother of former Venezuelan major league pitcher Victor Zambrano was also kidnapped, though she was rescued two days later.
Torrealba’s son, Eduardo, was kidnapped last June 2 while on an outing with his uncle. Then with the Colorado Rockies, Torrealba left the team and traveled to Caracas. Torrealba said his son’s captors held him for two-plus days and demanded a $500,000 ransom. He was on the way to pay the ransom when the kidnappers unexpectedly released the boy, who was 11 at the time. Once reunited, Torrealba spent the next 10 days with his son and immediately moved him to Miami.
Even though he was told two of the kidnappers have been arrested, Torrealba said he rarely visits Venezuela and has changed his habits of where he visits when he goes back.
“We’re the big target now,” Torrealba said. “Obviously, we don’t go to places we used to. Now kidnapping has become normal. It’s easy money.”
Torrealba says his son is adjusting well to Miami life and attends school with the sons of Manny Ramirez and Magglio Ordonez. He also is showing no signs of being affected by the kidnapping.
“They treated him good,” Torrealba said. “They didn’t hurt him mentally or physically.”