A South Tyneside woman has told of her despair after receiving a demand for money in exchange for details about what has happened to her missing stepson.
Dorothy Glenn, of Anderson Street, South Shields, has been desperately searching for answers since stepson Gary Burns, 39, went missing last August.
Mr Burns was last seen in Icmeler, Turkey, having been working in the resort’s Vodka bar.
His frantic family have been seeking information for more than eight months, and early last month, received a message from someone in Turkey claiming to be a friend of Gary.
Mrs Glenn said: “Gary’s brother, received a message on Facebook claiming Gary was dead, and was in the sea.
“I tracked down the number of the person who sent the message, and explained to him who I was.
We just want to find him and bring him homeDorothy Glenn
“He said he didn’t want to get involved, but you don’t send a message like that and not expect a response.”
She added: “I called him a second time and he said he’d give us names and places, but needed protection, and when I asked what he meant by that, he said he wanted £400.
“I never had any intention of sending him money, because I didn’t believe he’d give us the information.”
Gary, who is a dad to Jack, 15, is originally from Birkenhead, near Liverpool, but Dorothy and his brother Owen live in South Shields.
He had been in Turkey for about eight years before going missing.
Dorothy added: “Everyone we have spoken to out there has described the Gary we know: friendly, always smiling and willing to help people.
“All we want is answers. We just want to find him and bring him home. We just want information to help us put our minds at rest and for his poor mum, Gill.”
The investigation into Gary’s disappearance is being led by Turkish authorites, with Merseyside Police offering assistance to them and the family.
Anyone who is able to help can call the 24 hour free and confidential Missing People helpline on 116 000, or contact Dorothy on 07740 225186.