Violet Ripken, matriarch of the Ripken baseball family, was resting with relatives Wednesday afternoon after police said she was abducted at gunpoint from her Aberdeen home and driven around the area for nearly a day.
According to Aberdeen police, Ripken, 74, was approached at her home by a male suspect between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. Tuesday morning. The man produced a handgun, forced Ripken into her 1998 Lincoln Continental, and fled the area.
At a Wednesday afternoon press conference, Aberdeen Police Chief Henry Trabert said a motive for Ripken’s abduction remained unknown, as well as whether any of her credit or ATM cards were used. He said police were not aware of any demand for ransom.
No signs of foul play were evident at her home, according to Lt. Fred Budnick, spokesman for the Aberdeen Police Department, and Ripken’s absence was not noted for most of the day.
Budnick said Aberdeen police were contacted by Baltimore County officers at approximately 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, after a caller reported seeing a suspicious vehicle in the area of Ebenezer Road near Essex in southeastern Baltimore County. Trabert declined to specify where the car was sighted, due to the ongoing nature of the investigation.
Budnick said the caller was able to obtain the license plate number of the vehicle which, when run through a database, showed the vehicle was Ripken’s. Baltimore County police alerted Aberdeen police, triggering an investigation into her whereabouts.
Baltimore County police issued a missing person advisory shortly after 5:30 a.m. The search was called off less than an hour later, when Ripken was located in the rear of her vehicle at approximately 6:15 a.m. not far from her residence. Aberdeen police said her hands were bound at the time.
She was evaluated by paramedics, police said, but was uninjured. Budnick said she was resting at a relative’s home Wednesday afternoon.
“As you now know, our mother was abducted at gunpoint from her home yesterday morning,” Cal, Bill, Elly, and Fred Ripken wrote in a joint statement. “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. We want to thank everyone for their tremendous support, especially all of the law enforcement agencies that worked so hard and quickly. This is an on ongoing investigation, so we hope everyone understands that we cannot comment further at this time. Thank you.”
It was unclear whether the suspect knew Ripken’s identity, or whether she was targeted. “It’s still very early in the investigation,” Budnick said.
Police described the suspect as a white male in his late 30s to early 40s. He was last seen wearing a light colored shirt, camo pants and eye glasses, and is still believed to be armed with a handgun.
The FBI, Harford County Sheriff’s Department, Maryland State Police and Baltimore County Police are assisting Aberdeen police in the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Criminal Investigation Section of the Aberdeen Police Department at 410-272-2121.
From Aberdeen Police Chief Henry Trabert:
Aberdeen Police Department determined that Ms Ripken was missing after receiving a call from Baltimore COunty Police Department about approximately 8:30p. At which time APD immediately began a missing persons search for Ms Ripken. Detectives worked through out the night to locate Ms Ripken based on the information provided and issuin a missing person’s alert to the media at approximately 5:30am. Ms Ripken was located at approximately 6:15am in close proximity to her home.
Baltimore County Police Departments original information received indicated that Ms Ripken’s vehicle, 1998 Silver Lincoln Town Car was seen in Ebnezer Road area of Baltimore County (Essex Precinct). We are unable to disclose the exact location at this time, as this is an active ongoing investigation.
To reconfirm, we will not be able to speak to motive at this time.
From the Aberdeen Police Department:
Aberdeen, Maryland- July 25, 2012- Vi Ripken is safe and with her family after being abducted from her residence yesterday morning.
Between 7 and 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, a male subject approached Mrs. Ripken at her residence, produced a handgun, forced Ripken into her vehicle and fled the area.
The Aberdeen Police received a call from the Baltimore County Police last night at about 8:30. County Police said they had received a call about a suspicious vehicle in the Ebenezer Road area of the county. Information that was obtained in this call lead to the investigation of Mrs. Ripken’s whereabouts.
At about 6:15 this morning, Mrs. Ripken was located unharmed in her vehicle in close proximity to her residence. She was assessed by paramedics but was not injured and is now resting with family members.
Police are looking for a white male, late 30s to early 40s last seen wearing a light colored shirt, camo pants and eye glasses. The male was armed with a handgun.
The FBI, Harford County Sheriff’s Department, Maryland State Police and the Baltimore County Police are assisting in the investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Criminal Investigation Section of the Aberdeen Police Department at 410-272-2121.