04/09/04 — MOC player from Venezuela tries to cope with mother's kidnapping

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MOC player from Venezuela tries to cope with mother's kidnapping

By David Williams
Published in News on April 9, 2004 2:03 PM

KINSTON -- David Marquez took batting practice and shagged flies with his Mount Olive College teammates Wednesday afternoon as the Trojans prepared to take on the Kinston Indians.

Marquez is a straight-A student -- "he's never gotten a B in his life," said Trojan Coach Carl Lancaster.

David Marquez


But while he was focusing on being a good student and a team player, a small and special part of him was thinking about his mother, who is at home in Venezuela.

He thinks of her frequently. She is on his mind constantly. He prays for her all the time.

Magualida Marquez is being held against her will by kidnappers, taken eight days ago as she exercised in a public area shortly after taking her daughter to school.

"Four guys came in a red car, and two of them had guns," said Marquez. "They came and got her, and she started yelling, and one of my mom's friends that was there got the car's license plate."

The police found the car but no trace of the kidnappers. There has been no ransom demand so far. The only contact Marquez's father has received was in response to a plea that Mrs. Marquez receive medication for a physical condition.

"They said they were taking care of her," Marquez said. "We hope they are."

Kidnapping is common in Venezuela. "It's an easy way to make money," Marquez said. It is a byproduct of political turmoil in the South American country. The government is using intelligence agents to assist the police.

All of this leaves Marquez and his younger brother who attends Topsail High School in a difficult situation. Their father believes it is too dangerous for them to go back to Venezuela, so they go through their daily lives here with heavy hearts.

"At the beginning, it was hard. It's still hard," Marquez said. "My brother is here as well. I cannot act too down in front of him, because he needs support from me."

What Marquez can do -- and what he has asked everyone else to do -- is pray.

"I've prayed all my life, but now I increase my prayers and do whatever Mom would like me to be doing," he said. "That's a good way to keep my mind" focused.

His friends here have rallied around him. The Trojan team was there for him when he got back from Wilmington to tell his brother about the kidnapping. His brother's host family and the family Marquez stayed with in Wilmington when he attended Topsail are by his side, as are Coach Lancaster and his high school coach.

But so little can be done.

"It's hard to go to sleep and think about where she is and who has her," he said. "It's been almost a week, and it's hard to go to class or to bed without thinking about where she is now."

While he is going through his day, on the field or in the classroom, Marquez's thoughts are never far from his mother.

"I get to thinking about it, memories and stuff like that -- just wondering where my mother's at," he said. "That's the big question me and my brother have. And my dad is down there alone with my sister.

"I want to be there, but at the same time I know I'm helping him by being here, because he knows that I am safe here."

Marquez understands better than the average American how fortunate it is that the United States is a land of freedom.

"I love my country, but here you have freedom," he said. "Now, Venezuela is turning into a country that is real hard to live in. I know my mom and dad are grateful me and my brother are here, living and learning a new language. They are sure we are safe."

Marquez is leaning on his faith to get him and his family through this difficult time.

"Just pray," he said. "That's all we can do. God is going to do whatever He feels like is the right thing to do. You should make the best out of every situation. I think a lot of people are going to get more in contact with God.

"We're not Rambo or anything. We're not gonna go in and save her. I think praying is the only way -- or the best way."