Yordano Ventura’s family wants investigation into possibility he was robbed at crash site

In this photo released by Dominican Republic Highway Police and Military Commission, locals and authorities stood at the fatal crash site of Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura on Sunday.
In this photo released by Dominican Republic Highway Police and Military Commission, locals and authorities stood at the fatal crash site of Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura on Sunday. The Associated Press

The mother of Yordano Ventura is hoping for an investigation into the crash that killed her son early Sunday morning and the events immediately following, a Royals official told The Star on Tuesday.

The family’s request for additional information comes as unverified reports surfaced on Monday and Tuesday that alleged Ventura, the late Royals pitcher, may have been robbed and stripped of personal belongings after his Jeep crashed on a mountainous stretch of highway near the town of Juan Adrian in the Dominican Republic. The family has been unable to account for Ventura’s 2015 World Series ring, though it remains unclear whether the 25-year-old pitcher was wearing it or carrying it with him while driving from the province of San Jose de Ocoa north toward the town of Cibau.

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According to a story in the Spanish-language publication Pio Deportes, a local journalist named Euri Cabral reported that Ventura “was carrying items such as cash, garments that included his World Series ring and other valuable items, which were stripped” after the crash.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore, in the country for Ventura’s funeral Tuesday, told The Star he was aware of the report but did not comment further on it. A coroner who examined Ventura believed he did not survive the impact of the crash, according to information given to the Royals.

Ventura had spent time on Saturday evening at Patronales 2017, a festival in San Jose de Ocoa. Jacobo Mateo Moquete, a public information officer for the Commission on Military and Police for the Department of Public Works, revealed Tuesday that, per a conversation with the friend who identified Ventura’s body, the blue and white Jeep was last seen at the hotel in San Jose de Ocoa around 4 a.m. Sunday. It wasn’t until about 6:30 a.m. that a crowd had begun to assemble at the crash scene.

Yordano Ventura's funeral procession in the Dominican Republic

The approximate time it would take to travel from San Jose de Ocoa, where Ventura attended Patronales 2017, to Juan Adrian, where he was found, is 1 hour and 15 minutes.

In addition to the wishes of Ventura’s mother, Marisol Hernández, Ventura’s grandfather spoke to Pio Deportes and said details surrounding the aftermath of the crash remained unclear. He also asked the authorities to investigate further.

“We have no sign of how it all was,” Raúl Hernández said. “We want a clarification by the National Police. We are not very clear about that, we would like it to be thoroughly investigated.”

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The uncertainty surrounding the crash increased on late Monday night, when the website Ensegundo reported that Cabral, without evidence, had said that 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.”

Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martínez, a legend in the Dominican Republic, also implied that Ventura was robbed. In a series of Twitter messages, Martínez expressed outrage that Ventura could have survived the crash and was then robbed instead of given aid.

Mateo Moquete, the public information officer, told the Dominican radio station Zol 106.5 FM on Tuesday that Dominican National Police officers, community members and local police were already present when his team arrived at the Ventura crash scene Sunday. Someone in the scrum identified the vehicle as Ventura’s, sparking phone calls to the player’s family members and friends. For a brief moment, it was believed that a friend of Ventura’s was the victim of the crash.

Mateo Moquete said that because his unit does not have a direct connection to the area of the country in which the crash occurred — his department is an auxiliary branch of the Department of Public Works — he did not spearhead the team that has been investigating the wreck. Details from the autopsy will come from local police. When reached by The Star on Tuesday, a major with the National Police said confirmation of an investigation could not be given over the phone.

“It’s tragic that something of this magnitude happened,” Mateo Moquete said. “But whether or not he was robbed, I don’t have information to establish that.”

The Star’s Pete Grathoff and Vahe Gregorian contributed to this report.

Royals catcher Salvador Perez speaks at Yordano Ventura's funeral

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