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Palacios brother still a hostage

Gavin Lee, BBC Radio 5 Live

Wilson Palacios
Palacios has been capped 42 times by Honduras

The BBC has learned that the brother of a Premier League footballer is still being held hostage, despite the family paying a ransom to kidnappers.

Edwin Palacios, the 15-year-old brother of Wigan's Wilson Palacios, was taken captive in Honduras in October 2007.

His family have had little contact with Edwin but believe he is safe and well.

Wilson, 23, told BBC Radio 5 Live: "It was a shock, the first thought is who do we know that would do this? We don't have any enemies. I felt awful."

Wilson also urged other Latin American players to think carefully before considering a career in England and leaving their families behind.

"I can't deny that this is happening quite a bit in Honduras," he conceded. "Players need to be careful and make sure they are taking all measures to protect their families before they come here. "

The forward is the first Honduran to compete in the Premier League. His four brothers are also professional players in Honduras.

Edwin, who is the youngest of the Palacios brothers, was seized by kidnappers after Wilson's move to Birmingham City, who signed him on loan from Olimpia in August 2007.

Wilson told the BBC that it was after a training session with Birmingham that he first learned that Edwin was being held.

He revealed: "I went back to the dressing room and got my phone to find there was a message from my brother, you know, urgent, call him back, that's when I found out Edwin had been kidnapped."

It took a number of weeks before the family had any contact from the kidnappers. Wilson added that it was only then the family knew Edwin was still alive.

The beauty about him is that he is so desperate to do well, I wish I could find more players like him, that's for sure

Wigan manager Steve Bruce on Wilson Palacios

"We were aware he was safe because they put him on the phone so we could speak to him, I mean, I've not spoken to him personally, it kind of went through my oldest brother," stated Wilson. "He wasn't eating at first but my mum has told him to eat, be calm and that it's going to be okay."

The ransom that was demanded by the kidnappers was paid by the family several weeks ago but Edwin has still not been released.

The Ministry of Security in Honduras says Edwin's situation remains uncertain, although the police are currently trying to negotiate his release.

Wilson is one of a number of Latin American players whose families have been targeted by kidnappers in recent years.

In 2002, Henry Sousa, the brother of the Inter Milan striker David Sousa, was held to ransom for two weeks in Honduras.

In 2004, the mother of the Brazilian forward Robinho was abducted by gunmen and held for 40 days before being released.

Earlier this year, the sister of the Milan striker Ricardo Oliveira was rescued in a police raid in Brazil - five months after being taken captive.

Before Wilson was signed by a Premier League team, he said he had no idea that he would become a target for gangs.

Wilson's manager at Wigan, Steve Bruce, who originally brought him to England when he was boss at Birmingham, has singled Wilson out for special praise.

"His brother is still there, kidnapped, he is still captive," said Bruce. "The beauty about him is that he is so desperate to do well, I wish I could find more players like him, that's for sure."

Despite the tremendous pressure, Wilson says that his team-mates are helping him through the ordeal and that his family are praying that Edwin will soon be freed.

see also
Wigan complete Palacios signing
11 Jan 08 |  Wigan Athletic
Player's brother 'still captive'
16 Nov 07 |  West Midlands

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