Hall of Famer takes search for suspect to national level

BALTIMORE - He has relived the night he learned of his mother’s disappearance over and over again, but Cal Ripken, Jr. did it in a very public way before TV cameras at Camden Yards Friday.

"They wanted to know if we knew where Mom was, and so we couldn't find Mom and so then the worst fear was that it was her who was tied up in the back of the car and I guess from that point on we just tried to figure it out and to help as best we could,” said Ripken, “I actually physically got in the car and drove around.  It was like looking for a needle in a haystack I suppose, but it made me feel like I was doing something."

Since Vi Ripken’s abduction and return last week, police have released a surveillance video of the suspect, and they’ve now identified that store as the Wal-Mart on Ordnance Road in Glen Burnie.

Five automated billboards around Baltimore are now advertising the suspect’s image.

But they need the star power of the Hall of Fame shortstop to expand their search.

"(The) nationwide nature now that the publicity is taking on hopefully and will generate more leads.  (It) will give us more places to go," said Aberdeen Deputy Police Chief Stephen Smith.

Ripken didn’t mince words in making the appeal.

"If you know anything about the case, if you know anything about the identity of the person in the photos... the sketch, I would encourage all of you to call in and report what you know."

Ripken says while his mother was returned unharmed, the abduction has taken its traumatic toll, but the 74-year old refuses to live in fear.

"Part of dealing with this and coping with it is to put it in a place and to move on,” said Ripken, “My Mom has gone to her granddaughter's softball games.  She's gone to the IronBirds games.  She's continued to live her life.  She's gone to the beauty parlor... in ways that she wants to."

Ripken says he’s not really seeking justice and he’s thankful the abductor returned his mother unharmed.

But he does want closure and he wants to know why she was taken.

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