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Cal Ripken's mother safe after abduction

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 4:13 PM EDT, Thu July 26, 2012
  • NEW: Police say Vi Ripken was found in the back seat of her car, hands bound
  • Police in Aberdeen, Maryland, say a gunman forced her into a car at her home Tuesday
  • She was found unharmed about 6:15 a.m. Wednesday, they say
  • The family of Cal Ripken Jr. expresses gratitude that his mother is safe

Aberdeen, Maryland (CNN) -- The man who abducted the mother of Baltimore Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. from her Maryland home restrained her and appeared to have used her credit cards, a law enforcement official said Wednesday.

But officials in Aberdeen, Maryland, say they are still looking for motives in the case and haven't found evidence of ransom demands for Violet Ripken, the mother of one of baseball's most celebrated players.

Ripken, 74, was safe and resting with relatives Wednesday after a nearly daylong ordeal, authorities said.

Police in Aberdeen said a man with a gun showed up at her home between 7 and 8 a.m. Tuesday, then forced her into her vehicle and drove off. She was found about 6:15 a.m. Wednesday in the back seat of her vehicle near her home with her hands bound, but she was otherwise unharmed, police said.

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Violet Ripken is home safe with relatives after she was abducted.
Violet Ripken is home safe with relatives after she was abducted.
Police in Aberdeen released a photo Thursday of a man believed to have abducted Ripken.
Police in Aberdeen released a photo Thursday of a man believed to have abducted Ripken.

Investigators are looking for a motive. Aberdeen police said that they have no knowledge of a ransom being demanded or paid, and that Cal Ripken apparently wasn't contacted.

"At this time I can say we know of no ransom demand," Aberdeen Police Chief Henry Trabert told reporters. He also said police don't know of any relationship between the suspect and the Ripken family.

Trabert said Violet Ripken was understandably upset after the ordeal.

The official said the suspect put sunglasses on the woman and they drove around all day and made stops for gas. The official said the suspect made no mention of Cal Ripken, an indication that he might not have known she is the mother of a famous former baseball player.

The official was not aware of any attempt to ask anyone for a ransom, but said the suspect did take Mrs. Ripken's credit cards and it appears he has used them at several places.

Police believe the suspect drove the woman's silver 1998 Lincoln Towncar throughout central Maryland but they aren't sure of precise locations and counties.

Police are looking for a white male with a light, thin build in his late 30s to early 40s last seen wearing a light-colored shirt, glasses and "camo pants." Police consider the man armed and dangerous.

Rich Wolf, a spokesman for the FBI in Baltimore, said the FBI is helping local police investigate the case.

The Ripken family released a statement expressing gratitude for Violet Ripkin's safe return.

"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 statement said.

Cal Ripken Jr. achieved stardom as a shortstop with the Baltimore Orioles and is a member of baseball's Hall of Fame.

He holds the Major League Baseball record for playing in the most consecutive games -- 2,632 from 1982 to 1998. He made 19 straight All-Star appearances and won two Most Valuable Player awards, racking up 3,184 hits and 431 home runs.

His father, Cal Ripken Sr., was a manager, coach and scout who worked in the Orioles organization for 36 years. He died in 1999.

Ripken doesn't stop after retiring

CNN's Carol Cratty contributed to this report

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