The Abduction of Violet Ripken

On the morning of July 24th, 2012, 74-year-old Violet Ripken was abducted from her garage by an armed gunman. She would spend the next 23 hours bound and blindfolded in the backseat of her own car, as her mysterious abductor drove around the Baltimore, MD region… for a reason that remains unknown to this day…

On July 24th, 2012 - just after 8:00 PM - a couple in White Marsh, Maryland spotted a silver sedan parked in a pull-off area near the intersection of Ebenezer Road and the Pulaski Highway. This just-so-happened to be on property that they owned, in this small and unincorporated community in Baltimore County.

In and around the silver sedan - which, again, was pulled onto the shoulder of the road - this couple could make out two figures. There was a man outside of the car, walking around; who, unusually enough, was wearing gloves. Seeing that it was the middle of summer - and temperatures had exceeded 90-degrees that day - this was very odd. There was also another figure inside the car: an older woman, by the look of it, who seemed to be wearing a mask of some sort. There also appeared to be a white shirt or sheet covering up the rear driver's side window, which - again - was very unusual.

The more that this couple observed about the situation, it began to give them each the feeling that something was off. So, they asked the man outside of the car what he was doing, and he gave them a brief response of:

"That's my mother. She's got Alzheimer's."

Within moments, as if on-cue, the man had gotten back into the driver's seat of the silver sedan, which was a Lincoln Town-Car. He peeled out, and the couple that had been observing the situation made sure to write down the vehicle's license plate number: Baltimore plates that read "SMR-308."

As the driver sped off down the road, the couple began dialing 911. They told the dispatcher what had just unfolded: a vehicle pulled off on the side of the road, a strange man walking around with gloves on, an elderly woman in the backseat (who might have been kidnapped), and the man's direction upon driving off. They also gave the vehicle's license plate number, in the hopes that it could lead to an identity.

It turned out that the license plate number - ‘SMR-308’ - belonged to an influential figure in the Baltimore region: a figure that baseball fans all across the country were likely familiar with. You see, her husband - as well as two of her sons - had helped establish a sports dynasty, which she had played a pivotal role in.

Police would perform a wellness check upon the woman's house later that evening, and her absence made it clear that something had happened to her. Soon enough, police came to the understanding that the man driving her around was a kidnapper, and the stark realization that this 74-year-old widow, mother, and beacon of the community was now missing began to dawn on everyone in the community.

This is the abduction of Violet Ripken.

Violet Ripken - who many have come to know by her nickname, "Vi" - grew up in Aberdeen, Maryland: a small town about 30 miles northeast of Baltimore. There, she would fall and love with and eventually marry her high school sweetheart, Cal Ripken - a young man who had his sights set on an athletic career in baseball.

In 1957, Cal RIpken was signed by his hometown team, the Baltimore Orioles. Over a roughly 7-year professional career, he would struggle to make it to the big leagues, enduring a long line of injuries that would keep him out of the lineup. However, even though his playing career ended in 1964, he would eventually settle into a lengthy career as a coach and manager.

By that time, Violet had given birth to four children: three sons named Cal Jr., Billy, and Fred; and also one daughter, named Ellen.

Even though the family owned a house in Aberdeen, Maryland - which they would always consider "home" - they quickly became used to the traveling ways of minor league and major league baseball as Cal Sr. worked his way up the Baltimore Orioles organization in a variety of positions including third base coach, bullpen coach, scout, and even team manager. Due to his position changing almost every year (or every other year), this required the family to move around constantly.

By the time the 1980's came around, two of the couple's kids were cementing themselves as major league baseball players. First came Cal Jr., then Billy a few years later - both of whom had been drafted by the same organization their father coached for, the Baltimore Orioles. Billy would established himself as a solid major-leaguer, who showed a lot of promise but - like his father - had a shortened career bogged down with numerous injuries.

Meanwhile, his older brother - Cal Ripken Jr. - became one of the most well-known baseball players ever, earning a tremendous number of accolades and spending his entire 20-year major league career with his hometown Baltimore Orioles. During that span, he became known as baseball's "Iron Man," who started a record 2,632 consecutive games; which shattered the previous record, held by the New York Yankees' Lou Gehrig, and is unlikely to ever be touched by another athlete again. He retired in 2001, and was voted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007 - his first year of eligibility. By then, Cal Ripken Jr. had become a figure that transcended the game.

By the time that Cal Jr. and Billy's careers came to an end, their father - Cal Ripken Sr. - had passed away. Cal Sr. had been able to manage both of his sons in the major leagues - having been the manager for the Baltimore Orioles between 1987 and 1988 - and remains the only manager in Major League history to manage two sons at the same time. In his final years, he had become more of a figurehead for the Orioles organization, having walked away from coaching and managing to spend more time with his wife, Violet.

The two continued to live at their split-level home in Aberdeen, along Clover Street - which they had owned for several decades, and had become known as a haven for the Ripken clan. In a 1986 interview with The Evening Sun, Violet had spoken about her reverence for the region:

"I hope I never have to move. Our life simply centers on Aberdeen. It's a small town - my family, our neighbors... I don't think money or being a media family will change our lifestyle - we will always be just what we are."

Unfortunately, Violet's husband - Cal Ripken Sr. - passed away in 1999 due to complications from lung cancer. Years of chain-smoking had taken their toll, and she was left widowed in her early 60's. She would continue to live at the house she had shared with her husband, which all of her four children had once known as "home." She continued to be surrounded by her kids, her grandchildren, and numerous other loved ones.

After her husband's passing, Violet continued to find projects to fill her time with. She became the founding chairwoman of the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, a nonprofit organization set up in 2001, which looked to give at-risk youths access to athletic programs designed to build character and camaraderie. It was designed with her husband Cal Sr.'s values in-mind, and she played an active role in the guiding direction for the organization. She also dedicated time to other organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, which allowed her to work with underprivileged kids.

Violet was also active at local minor league baseball games nearby: especially the Baltimore Orioles minor league affiliate the Aberdeen Ironbirds, which was one of three minor league teams owned by her son, Cal Jr. Their playing ground was just a short drive away from her home, and just-so-happened to bear the name of her family, having been named Ripken Stadium.

At 74 years old, Violet Ripken had a daily routine, which began at around the same time every morning. It started with her getting the newspaper from her front porch, and eventually led to her making a trip to her nearby McDonald's. It was a routine that her neighbors and friends had picked up on over the years (especially her next-door neighbors, who had lived next to her for more than 30 years). However, it was later theorized that this routine might have been noticed by someone with intentions that were anything but pure.

On July 24th, 2012 - a Tuesday - Violet's morning routine unfolded as it always did. It was a warm summer day in Aberdeen, Maryland - about 30 miles northeast of Baltimore - and Violet was preparing to leave the home she had lived in for approximately 46 years.

Some time between 7:00 and 8:00 AM, Violet entered her garage, and was greeted by a horrifying sight: a strange man was standing in her garage, seemingly waiting for her. He was wearing a ski-mask and gloves, and was holding a handgun. He directed Violet towards her own vehicle: a silver 1998 Lincoln Town Car.

There, Violet was bound and blindfolded. The man bound her ankles and wrists with rope, and originally planned to wrap duct tape over her eyes and put her in the trunk. However, she seems to have pleaded with him not to - due to her suffering from claustrophobia - and the man seemed to show pity upon her. He instead placed the duct tape over her glasses, which kept her mostly in the dark, and allowed her to sit in the backseat. This allowed her to see a little bit through her peripheral vision. Later, the man seemed to realized this and replaced the duct tape with a mask of some sort, which more completely blocked her vision.

In the backseat of her own car, Violet Ripken was driven away from her home. The man didn't seem to tell her where she was going - or why he was taking her - but seemed to drive her around for most of the day. Eventually, he put a white shirt or a sheet over the back window on the driver's side, in an attempt to hide Violet from the world at-large.

Violet's abductor seemed to make multiple stops for gas and food, and seemed to not be overly malicious or harmful. He kept reassuring her that he wasn't going to harm her, and even shared cigarettes and fast food with the woman. It seemed like he didn't even know who she was, making no mention of her baseball-playing husband or son. In fact, he seemed oblivious to the fact entirely, and just kept driving around the Baltimore region for several hours.

For more than 12 hours, no one was aware that Violet Ripken had been abducted. Since she lived alone and autonomously, it wasn't until roughly 8:30 PM that she was reported missing.

It was around 8:30 PM when the couple that lived near White Marsh, Maryland encountered a strange man pulled off on the side of the road. This was on property they owned, near the intersection of Ebenezer Rd. and the Pulaski Highway - roughly 20 miles away from Violet's home. After witnessing this strange sight - which I detailed in the episode intro - they dediced to jot down the license plate number of the vehicle, which was then forwarded to police dispatchers - who then quickly linked the license plate to 74-year-old Violet Ripken.

At around 8:35 PM, Baltimore County police contacted officials with the Harford County Sheriff's Department, who held jurisdiction over Violet's home in Aberdeen. They were told that an "elderly woman" with "silver hair" appeared to have been taken captive by a man wearing gloves, and were provided with the information given by the 911 caller.

Aberdeen police were dispatched to the Ripken home, along Clover Street, and it quickly became clear that neither Violet - nor her vehicle - were at her home. It was now past 9:00 PM, and she was definitely supposed to be home at that time, as she generally turned in relatively early. Police began reaching out to all of Violet's known friends and family, and none of them had any idea where she could be (other than at home).

Police entered Violet's home, and quickly discovered her cell phone(s), indicating that she had not left of her own accord. They began scouring the home - looking for any clues - and even began combing through the surrounding area. Her neighborhood quickly came to a standstill, with a noticeable police presence lining the surrounding streets and intersections, shutting down traffic and causing residents to take lengthy detours. Officers even began going door-to-door, canvassing her friends and neighbors for information, such as when they had last seen her, if they had seen anything suspicious, etc.

One neighbor told police that she had seen an unfamiliar pickup truck on their street a few days earlier, which had been driving back-and-forth down the street. At the time, this neighbor had no idea that Violet was missing - because police had not publicized that information yet - but this lead was collected by officers as they struggled to learn what had happened to Violet Ripken.

Police concluded that Violet had been abducted earlier that day, and prepared to issue a public plea for help at around 5:30 AM the following morning.

On the morning of Wednesday, July 25th, 2012, the 24-hour mark of Violet's disappearance was rapidly approaching. Police sent out a press briefing that morning - informing the world at-large of Violet Ripken's disappearance and possible kidnapping - and had to hope that the release of this information would help lead to her safe return.

About 45 minutes after that press briefing was released - at around 6:15 AM - a 28-year old neighbor of Violet's named Erik Snyder was returning home from an overnight shift at a nearby warehouse. He was driving through their neighborhood - Clover Street - and was forced to turn around due to the police presence blocking the street. They were still looking for clues in Violet's disappearance, and Erik had to turn around and go a roundabout way to get home.

However, moments later, Erik came upon an unusual sight. He saw a silver sedan parked not too far away, with an elderly woman sitting in the backseat. Most intriguingly, she was waving a sweatshirt out of an open windows, while simultaneously honking the car horn.

Snyder called the police and told them about the suspicious sight, which ultimately led to the safe return of Violet Ripken.

Police came upon the scene, and discovered that Violet Ripken's Lincoln Town Car had been returned to the neighborhood she lived in. Surprisingly, the driver had abandoned the car just down the block from her home in Aberdeen; with her in the backseat, her hands still bound.

The culprit had safely returned Violet to the area of her home, but never told her why she had been abducted. He also did not seem to leave any kind of note or rationale for his behavior, with there being no explanation for her abduction and subsequent return. As far as police knew, there had been no ransom attempt, and the culprit had seemingly left on-foot (unless he had some other method of escape nearby).

Mike Hudson, a man whose mother lived across the street from Violet, told reporters later that day:

"It's just hard to believe the guy came all the way back on the street and dropped her off. That makes me believe he was a local, very local."

Police immediately began trying to piece together the specific details of this crime, but were shocked to learn that Violet's abductor had returned her - completely unharmed. In fact, other than her being bound and blindfolded, the kidnapper seems to have actually treated her well. Gus Kowalewski, a neighbor of Violet's (whom she later confided in), spoke to the media about the ordeal:

"He lit cigarettes for her; they stopped for food. He said, 'I'm not going to hurt you. I'm going to take you back,' and that's what he did."

"He said he just wanted money and her car."

The Ripken family would release a statement later that evening, thanking police and stating their gratefulness for having Violet - the family matriarch - back home, safe and sound.

On the afternoon of July 25th - just hours after Violet had returned home - the Aberdeen Police Department held a brief press conference.

The investigation into this strange kidnapping officially started on the evening of Tuesday, July 24th - approximately 12 hours after Violet had been abducted from her own garage.

After abducting Mrs. Ripken from her home, the kidnapper seemed to have no set destination in-mind. He just kept driving around central and western Maryland, making his way through Harford, Baltimore, and Frederick counties. Police also believe that he made his way as far north as Pennsylvania, which put this crime in federal jurisdiction. This invited the FBI to establish a presence in this case, and eventually allowed them to oversee the investigation.

However, even though police seemed to have tracked this man's strange trip around the region, there seemed to be no rhyme or reason for any of it. He seemed to not have a specific destination in-mind, and just kept driving for most of the 23 hours that Violet was missing. There seemed to be no way to track their trip, and no specific locales have ever been disclosed by investigators.

It was also unknown how the kidnapper had managed to drive Violet's vehicle back into her neighborhood, which was under the watchful eye of several police officers. There was an increased police presence through the entire neighborhood, and the sudden reappearance of her vehicle indicated that he was either a local - who perhaps lived nearby - or was incredibly familiar with the region.

Police would later admit that they were in the middle of a shift change at the time that Violet's vehicle was discovered by her neighbor. This was likely how the abductor had managed to slip in-and-out without being seen, but investigators just might not have been on the lookout for him so close to Violet's home. After all, nobody anticipated the culprit being brazen enough to return the vehicle back to the original crime scene, especially not with police combing the streets nearby. The odds of that happening had to be slim-to-none.

Out of all of the factors in this case that were unknown, the one that was most mystifying to investigators was the motivation.

Based on information obtained by investigators, it was not believed that Violet knew her abductor, nor vice/versa. He seemed to have no idea who she was, and - during their travels - seemed to asked Violet multiple questions about items in her car. They were items that had the logo of the Aberdeen Ironbirds, the Single-A minor league baseball team that was affiliated with the Baltimore Orioles. It was a local team owned by Violet's son, Cal Ripken Jr., and the abductor seemed to have no idea who or what they were.

Some speculated that this might have been why she was later returned home, as the abductor might have chickened out after he figured out she was the mother of one of the most well-known baseball players of all-time. Perhaps he didn't want the scrutiny that would come from potentially harming such a public figure, and might have originally targeted her because he simply thought she was a rich older woman - not anyone with a particularly high profile.

Investigators seemed to note that the fact that Violet was returned home was incredibly noteworthy in and of itself. Safe returns are not typical for kidnapping cases, and an anonymous police official in Harford County would later tell The Baltimore Sun:

"The fact that she was returned, the fact that he brought her back to the house - there's a lot of things that are not normal abduction-type stuff."

Of course, the likely motivation - as speculated by members of the press - was that this must have been some kind of ransom attempt by someone looking to bilk money out of a local celebrity. However, police announced that this was not likely, due to the abductor seeming to not know Violet Ripken's identity - or her association to the region's most well-known athlete. There also seemed to be nothing hinting at any kind of a ransom demand, or a ransom having been paid out by the family.

During the July 25th press conference, Aberdeen Police Chief Henry Trabert told the media:

"At this time I can say we know of no ransom demand."

That did not seem to change in the coming weeks and months, with police releasing no information ever hinting at a ransom demand or payment.

Robbery seemed to be the most likely motivation for this abductor, as it was later determined that the man had taken Violet's credit cards and used them on the day she was kidnapped. However, they would never announce what it was the abductor had bought with the credit cards, believing that information should remain confidential (likely to help weed out false confessions in the future).


The day after Violet Ripken returned home - Thursday, July 26th - police released images from a surveillance camera, which showed this mysterious abductor entering a nearby store.

The store's details were not disclosed by police at the time - claiming that it could "compromise their investigation" - but viewers later pieced it together as a Wal-Mart in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. More specifically, it was a Wal-Mart in Glen Burnie, a town roughly 40 miles southeast of Violet's home in Aberdeen.

Despite initially releasing just a few stills of this footage, police would eventually release a roughly 30-second clip, which showed this man entering the store and shopping. The footage actually gets a pretty good look at the man, with some cameras getting relatively high resolution images of his face and features - which fit in with how Violet and the other witnesses had described the man.

He was a white man, who looked to be in his late 30's or early 40's, who was pretty tall and thin. He was estimated to stand around 5'10", weighed around 200 pounds, had short brown hair with normal-looking features, and wore glasses. At the time of the abduction, he was wearing a light-colored shirt with camo-patterned pants, but the surveillance footage released by investigators shows him wearing a long white shirt and jeans, as well as an orange, black, and white baseball cap (which, ironically, are the colors worn by the Baltimore Orioles).

Police would announce that they had additional surveillance footage of the man from other establishments, including other retail chains, convenience stores, and fast food restaurants; yet they've been pretty secretive about this footage, choosing only to release still images of this man on one other occasion - later that year, in November of 2012.


That November - roughly four months after the abduction of Violet Ripken - police revealed additional photos of the culprit, which were taken at a Wal-Mart in Middle River, Maryland (about 20 miles away from the other Wal-Mart in Glen Burnie). This footage shows the man wearing different clothing - including a different hat - and police claim that this footage was taken the day AFTER Violet was returned home: July 26th.


Later, detectives would reveal that the man was returning items he had purchased at the Glen Burnie Wal-Mart two days prior, having paid for them with Violet's credit cards. Yet, investigators would not disclose what the items were, choosing to keep that information confidential.


At the same time that these photos were released - in November of 2012 - police also revealed images of a green Dodge minivan from the Wal-Mart parking lot, which had some notable bumper stickers on the back and side windows. Police did not state that the abductor had been driving the minivan, but the driver of it might know information about the culprit, so investigators wanted to speak to them.

The surveillance images of the culprit - obtained from numerous cameras in the region - led police to create a sketch of the man (which was aided by Violet Ripken's witness testimony). In addition to the surveillance images, this police sketch was released to the public, and highlighted on billboards in the surrounding area: in particular, along I-95 and I-83, areas he likely frequented or where he was known by others.

Police cautioned everyone to be mindful of the man, and he was to be considered armed and dangerous.

In August of 2012, just about a week after the safe return of his mother, Cal Ripken Jr. spoke to reporters in a press conference.

In November of that year, Cal Ripken Jr. spoke further about the abduction, and the effect it was having upon his mother:

"Mom is forever affected, there's no doubt about it. We're forever affected as a result of that and it's a little unsettling. He's still out there and I think Mom is coping as best she can."

"That's the hard part, in many ways, to cope with it. You want to forget about it but you can't forget about it until there is some sort of closure."

Police continued their investigation, hoping to find some kind of closure for Violet and her family months after her abduction. They had received a tip from a local inmate named Michael Molitor, who had pointed them towards a potential suspect. However, it came to light in April of 2013 that this tip was not credible, due to evidence going against Molitor's named person-of-interest (who was later revealed to be a former-acquaintance of his).

It was believed that Molitor only forwarded the name to police in an effort to get himself bailed out of jail, and it came to light that he had a history of giving false information to the police - having done so a few years earlier, in July of 2010, following an arrest. An investigator later testified against Molitor, and he was sentenced to 7 years in prison for drug offenses. By then, the POI he named had been completely ruled out as a suspect, and investigators were back to square one.

In July of 2013 - the one year mark of her abduction and subsequent return - Violet Ripken spoke to the press for the first time. In this interview, she made it clear that she wasn't going to hide away for the rest of her life.

"I didn't want to go and hide. I felt like if I keep away from things, it's not going to be very fun for me. I had to face it."

By the time she spoke to reporters, 75-year-old Violet Ripken had once again begun regularly attending minor league baseball games, and was back to her old routine. Her family had taken safety precautions to make sure a similar incident didn't happen, but Violet was going back to her life as she knew it: unafraid.

Just a few weeks after the one year mark came-and-went, Violet's son Cal Ripken Jr. announced that he was increasing the reward from $2,000 to $100,000. The original reward had been deemed palty by some, who critiqued it as being a minor sum for such a high-profile and potentially major crime. Cal agreed that the original reward of $2,000 wasn't enough, and was now hoping that the added cash incentive would inspire someone with information to come forward.

Unfortunately, Violet Ripken's 2012 abduction was not the only frightening incident that she would have to endure.

A little over a year after her kidnapping - in October of 2013, once she had finally started to settle back into her routine once again - she was leaving a NBRS bank in downtown Aberdeen. As she left the bank and began walking back towards her car, a man wielding a handgun confronted her in the parking lot.

Again, a man had her at gunpoint and was demanding her car. But Violet - now nearly 76 years old - reacted quickly, and pressed the panic button on her car keys. Her lights started flashing and her car horn started blaring repeatedly, attracting attention from everyone in the vicinity.

Thankfully, Violet was not harmed, but was definitely frightened; this being her second firearm-related offense in about 15 months, after all.

The gunman fled from the scene, and was located by police roughly two hours later. In the aftermath, he was identified as 33-year-old Jesse Bowen, who lived nearby. He was later charged with attempted armed robbery, attempted armed carjacking, assault, and other offenses (including weapons and drug charges).

Police did not believe the two separate incidents were related, with Bowen not matching any of the descriptions of Violet's kidnapper from 2012. Not only did he look different, but he was several inches shorter and weighed approximately 50 pounds less than the figure from the surveillance footage.

The man behind the 2012 abduction of Violet Ripken is still wanted by law enforcement. Not only are the Aberdeen and Maryland State Police still after him, but the FBI is, as well. The culprit could face a possible 30-year prison sentence if found and convicted, which is the max allowed under Maryland state law. Considering the factors of the abduction, it's a definite possibility; especially since kidnapping and weapons charges are not taken lightly, and have no statute of limitations.

The case remained the talk of the town in Aberdeen for some time, which is really saying something. Aberdeen, Maryland is no stranger to violent crime - with it being on the very outskirts of the Baltimore region - but it is not used to strange crimes like this. Especially not crimes happening to the region's most high profile residents.

As you can imagine, this case has been rife with all kinds of theories - ranging from the believable to the bizarre. However, even though there have existed several theories implicating specific individuals, most of these theories seem to split down the middle over the intentions of this mysterious kidnapper.

Some remain convinced that this was an extortion attempt - which may or may not have come to fruition. Those that believe this theory tend to postulate that Violet's family (presumably, her son Cal) came up with the funds for a ransom and paid her abductor; ultimately leading to her safe return. But if so, this would mean that the police themselves are in on it, as they would undoubtedly be aware of any ransom requests or payments being made, as it would endanger or conflict with their own investigation.

As you can see, this theory remains a bit of a conspiracy, and seems to hinge on the belief that police want to deter any potential copycats by pretending that no ransom attempt was made. I don't know how much I believe in this - as I don't think I can ever believe that police would just let something like that transpire under their nose - but stranger things have happened.

Then, you have others believing that the culprit was someone out of his league; who just-so-happened to stumble upon the house belonging to the First Mother of Baseball. Perhaps he was planning to rob the house - or even abduct a rich older woman for ransom - but changed his mind when he found out Violet was such a high-profile target.

Philip Becnel, a managing partner at Dinolt, Becnel, and Wells Investigative Group - a P.I. firm in Washington DC - explained this in an interview a few years back:

"My understanding is that [it's possible] he didn't appear to know who he had, there was no ransom demand. It doesn't appear he had too much of a plan except driving her around and I think for that reason, the first thing that comes to mind is some kind of mental illness, that someone had it in their brain to do this for whatever reason."

Becnel clearly believes that this man was a mentally deranged individual who kidnapped Violet Ripken for nothing but the thrill of it, and - without knowing the man's identity or motivation - it's a theory that's impossible to rule out. We still don't know why he committed this bizarre crime, so the bizarre power trip - or the robbery-gone-wrong - remain strong possibilities for the man's motive.


Personally, I lean towards this being a robbery. There are so many unknown factors in this case, but one of the few things we know for a fact is that this man stole and used Violet's credit cards. Of course, that doesn't explain why he kidnapped Violet - and leaves a bunch of unanswered questions of its own - but it remains the most likely motive, in my opinion.

In 2017, police released an age-progression image of the suspect, showing what the culprit would look like now. It also showed what he looked like with glasses and a hat on, and included color and much more detail than the original sketch. It's an incredibly lifelike portrayal of the man that Violet Ripken recalls kidnapping her close to 7 years ago; a crime that is still unsolved.

The $100,000 reward is still up-for-grabs for anyone that helps police identity the suspect. It is not believed that the case has gone cold - with investigators still looking into it as recently as 2017 - but as of this episode's recording, the story behind the abduction of Violet Ripken remains unresolved.


Episode Information

Episode Information

Written, hosted, and produced by Micheal Whelan

Producers: Ben Krokum, Quil Carter, Laura Hannan, Astrid Kneier, Katherine Vatalaro, Damion Moore, Amy Hampton Miller, Timothy Stratton, Scott Meesey, Steven Wilson, Sara Willemsen, Scott Patzold, and Marie Vanglund

Published on May 26th, 2019

Music Credits

ROZKOL - "Opening Credits"

Lee Rosevere - "Breathing"

The Pangolins - "Generate Silence"

Rotten Bliss - "Lighthouse"

Kai Engel - "Machinery"

ROZKOL - "Stay Quiet"

Rest You Sleeping Giant - "Dead Waters"

Blear Moon - "Cold Summer Landscape"

Other music created and composed by Ailsa Traves

Sources and further reading

FBI - “Seeking Information in Ripken Abduction Case”

FBI - “Surveillance Footage of Suspect in Violet Ripken Kidnapping”

Wikipedia - Cal Ripken Sr.

Wikipedia - Cal Ripken Jr.

The Washington Post - “Police search for gunman who abducted Cal Ripken Jr.’s mother”

The Baltimore Sun - “Vi Ripken abducted at gunpoint, quietly returned”

ESPN - “Cal Ripken’s mom abducted, now safe”

WJLA - “Cal Ripken’s mother found after abduction”

FOX 6 Now - “Cal Ripken’s mother safe after abduction”

WBAL - “Special report: police update Ripken case”

Daily Beast - “Ripken’s Mom Home After Kidnapping”

CBS Baltimore (13 WJZ) - “Mrs. Ripken Found Safe”

The Washington Post - “Police release surveillance photo of Violet Ripken abduction suspect”

The San Diego Union-Tribune - “Police: Ripken Jr.’s mom OK after kidnapping”

The Dagger - “Police Release Photos of Suspect, Vehicle in Vi Ripken Abduction”

FOX 2 Now - “Police Release Photos Of Suspect In Kidnapping Of Cal Ripken’s Mother”

WBAL - “Harford County Sheriff’s Office releases video of Vi Ripken abduction suspect”

WJLA - “Violet Ripken kidnapping; New video of suspect released”

NBC Washington - “Surveillance Video Released in Violet Ripken Abduction”

CBS Baltimore - “Cal Ripken Discusses Mother’s Kidnapping”

Capital Gazette - “Police chase lead on Vi Ripken kidnapping to dead end”

Capital Gazette - “Vi Ripken reflects on life a year after her mysterious kidnapping and safe return”

International Business Times - “VIDEO: Vi Ripken Still At Large; Cal Ripken Jr. Ups Reward For Capture, Conviction”

Bleacher Report - “Cal Ripken Jr. Offers $100,000 Reward for Information on His Mother’s Kidnapper”

CNN - “Cal Ripken Jr. offers $100,000 for arrest, conviction of mom’s kidnapper”

The PostGame - “Who Abducted Cal Ripken’s Mom? The Story Behind The Unsolved Abduction Mystery”

Sports Illustrated - “Cal Ripken Jr.’s mother threatened at gunpoint”

TMZ - “Cal Ripken Jr.’s Mom Threatened at Gunpoint… Again”

Fox News - “Man charged with trying to carjack Cal Ripken’s mom”

The Baltimore Sun - “Aberdeen perplexed by attacks on Vi Ripken”

New York Post - “Ripken’s mom scares off carjacker 14 months after kidnapping”

WBAL - “Man arrested in attempted carjacking of Vi Ripken”

Inquisitr - “Violet Ripken Thwarts Carjacker, A Year After Cal Ripken’s Mother Was Kidnapped”

Deadspin - “Whatever Happened To The Ripken Kidnapping Case?”

The Baltimore Sun - “5 years later, police are still searching for the man who abducted Vi Ripken”

Daily Mail - “Police release new sketch of man who kidnapped Cal Ripken’s mother, 74, five years after she was abducted at gunpoint by the still-at-large felon”

NY Daily News - “Police release new sketch of man believed to have abducted Cal Ripken Jr.’s mother five years ago”