Reports: Rays SS Wander Franco arrested in Dominican Republic for missing summons over alleged relationship with minor

Wander Franco has been arrested in the Dominican Republic, according to multiple reports. (Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Wander Franco has been arrested in the Dominican Republic, according to multiple reports. (Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco has been arrested in the Dominican Republic after he failed to show for a scheduled meeting with prosecutors regarding an investigation into an alleged inappropriate relationship with a minor, according to multiple reports.

Franco was summoned by Dominican Authorities last week and scheduled to meet with the Specialized Prosecutor's Office for Children and Adolescents on Thursday in Santo Domingo. He didn't show for that meeting, prompting a search by authorities in his hometown residence in Baní, according to the Associated Press.

Franco's whereabouts remained unknown until he arrived in Santo Domingo with his lawyers on Monday, according to Spanish-language outlet Diario Libre and other publications. Reporter Héctor Gómez initially reported Monday that the meeting with prosecutors led to Franco's arrest.

ESPN reports that Franco was arrested specifically for his failure to appear last week and not because of advancements in the investigation into his alleged inappropriate relationship.

Diario Libre and Listin Diario also confirmed that Franco had been detained. Authorities also detained the mother of the minor who initially made the complaint, according to reports. What Franco is charged with was not initially clear. Gómez reports that Franco is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday and that prosecutors plan to ask for him to remain jailed without bail as the process continues.

Allegations that Franco had engaged in a relationship with an underage girl initially surfaced on social media in August. MLB launched an investigation, and the Rays placed Franco on the restricted list on Aug. 14. MLB placed him on administrative leave Aug. 23. He played his final game of the 2023 season on Aug. 12.

An initial complaint that Franco had allegedly engaged in an inappropriate relationship was reportedly filed on July 17, before the allegations went public on social media. ESPN reported Aug. 30 that a second underage girl had accused Franco of engaging in an inappropriate relationship and that authorities were investigating an alleged third. The age of consent in the Dominican Republic is 18 years old.

Franco, 22, was in the midst of this third MLB season when the allegations surfaced. He made his first All-Star team in 2023 and slashed .281/.344/.475, with 17 home runs, 58 RBI and 30 stolen bases in 112 games before his season ended in August. The Rays were swept in the first round of the 2023 postseason by the eventual World Season champion Texas Rangers.

Franco signed an 11-year, $182 million contract with the Rays in 2021.