Reporting Meghan McCorkell
ABERDEEN, Md. (WJZ)– Blindfolded and shoved into her car. Police say Cal Ripken’s mother is safe after a terrifying abduction in Harford County, but her attacker is still on the loose.
Meghan McCorkell has the latest on the investigation.
Police are desperately looking for the man who took her. Violet Ripken, known as Vi, is very well known in the community—not only because of her sons and husband but because of her charity work. She went through 24 hours of pure hell in the back of her Lincoln Town Car.
The matriarch of the Ripken family, 74-year-old Violet, was abducted at gunpoint by a man in her family’s home in Aberdeen just before 8 a.m., driven around central Maryland in her car, then dropped off on her block around 24 hours later.
A close friend and neighbor spoke to her after the ordeal.
“I think he followed her and knew and watched her. Why would he do that, go in her garage and wait there for her? He tied her up and put a mask on her and told her to get in the car,” said Gus Kowalewski. “He wanted her car and money and her to go with him.”
She was blindfolded and tied up, forced into the backseat of her own car. For 12 hours, he drove her around. Police were notified when someone at a diner reported a suspicious car. Ten hours later, at the same time a missing person alert went out.
“I saw someone waving a white sweater out of a window,” said Erik Snyder. “She was pretty frantic, distraught.”
Vi Ripken is the mother of former Orioles Cal Jr. and Billy, who issued a statement saying, “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.”
Police say tips are coming in about the man who took her.
“We believe the man is still armed with a handgun and should be considered dangerous,” said Police Chief Henry Trabert.
“I’m very, very distraught about the whole thing. I hope they get that guy because I think he has another agenda. He’s still around someplace,” Kowalewski said.
The 74-year-old was checked out by paramedics. She has no major injuries and is resting with her family.
“She’s shook up, of course. I don’t think it’s really hit her yet,” Kowalewski said.
The question now is whether she was taken because of who she was. Police say there were no ransom demands for money. They’ve asked the 911 calls not be released. They’re not saying whether anyone used her ATM or credit cards.
Jessica Kartalija has a look at Vi Ripken’s prominent role in the Orioles family.
Vi Ripken has spent most of her life in Aberdeen, living in the home where she was kidnapped for more than 40 years. She has said she hoped to never leave.
“As a mother, I’d want him to play forever,” she said.
Violet Ripken is no stranger to the spotlight. The mother of four children, Fred, Elly, Billy and Baltimore’s Iron Man, Cal Jr.
“What can I say about my mom? She is an unbelievable person. She let my dad lead the way on the field but was there in every other way,” Cal Ripken said.
The 74-year-old is the matriarch of one of baseball’s most well-known families. One of her proudest moments was when Cal broke Lou Gehrig’s streak.
“I love my son, and I love him because he was my son. Being where he is has nothing to do with it. Doesn’t sound very humble but he really seemed to capture the world that night,” she said.
Ripken has been an integral part of the Cal Ripken Senior Foundation, as well as a board member for the Boys and Girls Club of Harford County.
Vi has lived in Aberdeen since her husband, former Orioles coach and manager Cal Sr., died in 1999. She has said that she hopes to never leave the area. She’s become a familiar face around Aberdeen’s Ripken Stadium. She’s often seen watching at Ripken’s Little League World Series and minor league Ironbirds games.
Detectives say the suspect is a white male in his late 30s to early 40s. He was last seen wearing a light colored shirt, camouflage pants and glasses.
Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call the Aberdeen Police Department at 410-272-2121.