Venezuelan authorities are investigating the murder of an American lawyer in Caracas.

The South American country's public prosecutor says 70-year-old John Ralston Pate was found dead in his apartment Sunday in a well to do eastern Caracas neighborhood. His wife was found injured.

Local media are reporting that the two were attacked during a kidnapping gone wrong.

Venezuela is thought to be the second most violent country in the world, after Honduras.

Pate attended Brown University and Boston University, and had been a member of the Caracas-based firm since 1981. The website of the DeSola, Pate & Brown firm says he was a member of the Massachusetts bar.

The U.S. Embassy in Caracas says a family member is traveling to Caracas.