What Happened to Wander Franco? Authorities Are Stumped

Melissa Willets - Author

Dec. 27 2023, Published 1:35 p.m. ET

Wander Franco #5 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during the fifth inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Tropicana Field on Aug. 12, 2023
Source: Getty Images

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The Gist:

  • Tampa Bay Rays star player Wander Franco's whereabouts are unknown at the time of writing.
  • He has denied the very disturbing accusations that he had a relationship with at least one underage girl.
  • Wander is currently on leave from the Florida baseball team after signing an 11-year, $182 million contract.
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Tampa Bay Rays player Wander Franco is, well, wandering somewhere not known to many if anyone. Police are searching for him abroad in the Dominican Republic.

Reports claim that the professional baseball player is evading law enforcement after denying serious accusations against him. Keep reading for all of the details on the shady situation.

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Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 1, 2023, in New York City
Source: Getty Images

So, what happened to Wander Franco?

All domestic reports about what happened to Wander Franco are coming from the local paper Listin Diario.

Indeed, it has being widely claimed that the Santo Domingo Prosecutor's Office for Children and Adolescents raided two homes in the country looking for the baseball player in an attempt to question him about at least one inappropriate relationship with an underage girl.

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Major League Baseball is reportedly also investigating disturbing claims about the player that came to light on social media in August.

Wander has been on administrative leave since Aug. 22, 2023, per Fox News, having played his last game less than two weeks prior.

According to reports, Wander denied the allegations that got him benched in an Instagram Live session. However, he might be considered an active fugitive now, although the outlet in the Dominican Republic didn't specifically make this claim, per Deadspin.

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Baseball fans are disgusted with Wander Franco even though he has denied any guilt.

For their part, the Rays spoke out about the embattled player's standing with the team, saying in a statement in August, “We support Major League Baseball’s decision to place Wander Franco on administrative leave."

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The statement also said, "The Tampa Bay Rays are dedicated to upholding high standards of integrity both on and off the field. We appreciate the understanding and patience of our fans and supporters as this process unfolds. We will have no further statements on this matter until MLB completes its process.”

But "patient" fans are speaking out on social media about the controversy, especially given how much money Wander stands to make in the coming years — upwards of $230 million.

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With people claiming online that he's on the run from jail, it's important to point out that Wander hasn't been charged with a crime. He's just being sought for questioning, as of the latest reports.

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While some fans are enraged, others are having fun with the deeply unsettling situation, joking about who will come looking for Wander next. Perhaps Dog the Bounty Hunter? Or, cringe, Chris Hansen from How to Catch a Predator?

For now, until the allegations are sorted out, images of Wander are nowhere to be found at the Tampa stadium nor is merchandise related to the player, according to Fox News.

Many experts are saying that #5 won't play again for MLB — if he is found at some point that is.

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