New information from the Dominican Republic appears to quash the suspicion that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was robbed after a car wreck that took his life early Sunday morning on the Caribbean island.
Bienvenido Rojas, a longtime sports journalist for Diario Libre in the capital of Santo Domingo, on Wednesday tweeted a previously unseen image of the crash scene. In the photo, which The Star has deemed too graphic to publish, Ventura still wears a watch on one wrist and bracelet on the other.
A forensic scientist, who provided the photo to Rojas, told the reporter that Ventura’s family received a bag containing jewelry and documents when they claimed his body.
Ventura’s family has been unable to account for his 2015 World Series ring, though it’s unknown if the 25-year-old was wearing it, or even carrying it with him, while driving from the province of San Jose de Ocoa north toward the town of Cibao.
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Suspicion that Ventura might have been robbed and left for dead first surfaced Monday.
Without providing evidence in its story, the website Ensegundo reported that journalist Euri Cabral said Ventura “was found alive, but several people assaulted him instead of helping him, after suffering the fatal accident at kilometer 14 of the road Juan Adrián.”
The rumor picked up steam when former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martínez, whom Ventura idolized growing up, denounced his home country in a series of tweets stating that Ventura was robbed as he lay dying alongside a rural highway in Juan Adrian.
On Tuesday, the coroner who performed the autopsy on Ventura’s body told the Royals he died instantly.
“Martínez’s claims were completely false,” Rojas said in a phone interview with The Star. “Yordano died on impact. No one touched his belongings.”
On Thursday, Martínez posted this message on his Twitter account: “I’m glad that the investigation around Yordano’s death was cleared up and that he wasn’t a victim of acts of vandalism in his last moments.”
Royals officials confirmed Tuesday that Ventura’s family is eager to know more about the crash, which occurred on a mountainous stretch of highway some time after Ventura left a festival in San Jose de Ocoa early Sunday morning.
On Tuesday, members of Ventura’s family called for an investigation into the details of the crash. It does not appear that Ventura’s family members believe a robbery occurred, but they’d like to dispel the idea that alcohol or drugs may have played a role in his death.
Authorities have not confirmed to The Star other details of their investigation into the crash, and toxicology reports could take up to three weeks to complete.
“Too many people here are quick to give false information credence without verifying it first,” Rojas said. “It’s a shame this crash occurred, but Ventura died on impact.”