(CBS/KIRO) SEATTLE - The son of a Washington State woman who disappeared more than a year ago thinks the email he received Thursday claiming she is alive and demanding $250,000 for her release is a scam, reports CBS affiliate KIRO in Seattle.
"Patti is alive," read the subject line of the e-mail, a reference to Patti Krieger, who vanished during a day hike on Sauk Mountain in 2010.
"I think I'm gonna throw up," said Alan Patterson, Krieger's son, describing his reaction to the three emails he and his wife received Thursday morning. "Instantly, your heart drops down to your chest and it just doesn't make any sense."
The sheriff's office and Krieger's family searched for her for days after she disappeared last year, but found nothing. Now, the emails from someone calling him or herself "The Keeper" claim that, "Your mother or girlfriend made it alive from that mountain and has been under my care for more than a year, but I must warn that she needs medical attention."
"The Keeper" then goes on to demand $250,000 for Krieger's safe release or at least a "$25,000 upfront payment to receive video footage as proof" she's alive, according to the email. "We can start by mailing you a finger for analysis if your police/FBI team need proof."
Patterson says the email contains several red flags, like poor grammar and spelling. Also, "The Keeper" wants the money wired to Ghana.
"I think they're a sick individual and motivated by greed," Patterson said.
He called the sheriff's office Thursday morning.
Patterson told KIRO he hopes the police take the attempt at extortion seriously, though he said his family isn't taking "The Keeper's" claims seriously.