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Vi Ripken abduction is not a cold case, investigators say

Six weeks after the mother of one of Baltimore's most famous baseball players was kidnapped and left bound on the side of the road in her Lincoln Town Car, the case remains a mystery to police.

Aberdeen police say the abduction of Violet R. Ripken in the small Harford County city July 24 is still an active investigation. It won't become a cold case unless all leads are exhausted, Lt. Fred Budnick said Wednesday. Ripken is the mother of Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr.

"It's not like on TV. A case isn't solved in 30 minutes or 60 minutes," Budnick said, "It takes the boots on the road to develop leads and check all of the leads out; it's a time-consuming process."

Budnick said police don't know the motive of the man they believe abducted Ripken at gunpoint, tied her feet and took her on a ride through Central Maryland before returning her unharmed about 24 hours later. Police also don't know whether the man acted alone, Budnick said.

Budnick said releasing further details publicly could jeopardize the investigation.

He said police have received — and investigated — 50 to 60 tips called in by the public, Police are seeking a white man in his mid-30s to mid-40s, about 5 feet 10 and 180 pounds, with short brown hair and glasses.

A 35-second video released in the days following the incident shows the man at a Glen Burnie Walmart the night of the abduction. Police have also released a composite sketch.

"We really feel there is somebody out there who knows," Budnick said. "We're asking for someone to come forward to say, 'This is your guy.' We tell anyone who has information to keep calling in."

Tips can be made anonymously, Budnick said. Information that leads to a conviction could bring up to $2,000 in rewards.

The Ripken family declined to comment for this article.

FBI Special Agent Richard Wolf, a spokesman for the Baltimore office, said the bureau continues to assist Aberdeen police in the case, as do regional authorities such as the Harford County Sheriff's Office.

Although the characterization of cold versus active cases can depend on the crime and the police jurisdiction in charge, Wolf noted that some have remained active for years.

ywenger@baltsun.com

twitter.com/yvonnewenger

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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