The father of star Liverpool F.C. player Luis Díaz is still missing after both his parents were kidnapped Saturday in their home country of Colombia.
Police on Tuesday found two of the four people suspected of being involved in the operation that saw Luis Manuel Díaz and his wife, Cilenis Marulanda, being held at gunpoint as they were leaving a gas station in Barrancas, according to The Guardian.
The couple was being followed by men on motorcycles before they were confronted, according to CCTV shared by local outlets and reported by the BBC.
While Marulanda was rescued within hours of being taken, kidnappers are still holding on to her husband.
About 200 members of the country’s security forces, including elite police squads using helicopters to carry out aerial searches, have been frantically looking for the elder Díaz’s whereabouts, including in a forest in northern Colombia, offering a $48,000 reward for tips that could aid the investigation. One of the biggest concerns is that Díaz’s father may have been smuggled across the border with Venezuela.
Barracas residents, including Marulanda and the elder Díaz’s father, attended a vigil on Tuesday, holding candles and wearing T-shirts with the missing man’s face on them, calling for his release. The Liverpool player had also shared a flyer about the march on his Instagram account.
Cilenis Marulanda, mother of Colombian soccer player Luis Diaz, joins a march to demand the release of her husband and the father of the Liverpool striker, in Barrancas, La Guajira department, Colombia, on Oct. 31.
Díaz’s father, according to the BBC, is a well-known figure in his community and coaches young soccer players.
The younger Díaz, who was due to take part in his team’s Sunday game against Nottingham Forest, was swapped out of the lineup after the news broke.
Jurgen Klopp, the coach of Liverpool, one of England’s biggest football clubs, reacted to the difficult news after the match. Liverpool won 3-0, and teammate Diogo Jota held up Díaz’s jersey after scoring the team’s first goal.
“We played in the most difficult circumstance I’ve ever had,” Klopp told Sky Sports.
He continued: “We all pray and hope that everything will be fine.”
Diogo Jota of Liverpool holds the shirt of teammate Luis Díaz after scoring their first goal between Liverpool F.C. and Nottingham Forest.
The club echoed Klopp in a statement Sunday reading: “It is our fervent hope that the matter is resolved safely and at the earliest possible opportunity. In the meantime, the player’s welfare will continue to be our immediate priority.”
Sergio Guzmán, the director for political risk consultancy Colombia Risk Analysis, told The New York Times kidnappings in the country have started ticking upward again following a slowdown after the government struck a peace agreement with Colombia’s biggest rebel group in 2016.
Díaz, who also plays in Colombia’s national men’s soccer team, is currently in England.