Oklahoma family says they’re victims of a ransom scam after loved one is still missing

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TECUMSEH, Okla. - An Oklahoma family say they're now victims of a ransom scam. They tell News 4 a man demanded thousands of dollars in cash for the release of their missing brother.

Blake Mitchell was last seen in Cozumel back in March of this year.

The family said out of the blue a person began messaging them claiming Mitchell was on the verge of dying and he needed medical help and the only way to safety was with cash.

"My brother has been missing for four months," Erica Diebold said. "I want to hear my brother's voice more than anything."

It all started with a series of texts from a number Diebold didn't recognize.

"We kidnapped your brother," Diebold said. "We demand ransom. We have him with us. He's sick and has ulcers."

Diebold took to Facebook to share her story of the back and forth go around with a man on the other end of the phone.

She said he was demanding thousands of dollars in exchange for Blake's safe return.

"You just don't know what to do," Diebold said. "You have to remind yourself to breathe."

We spoke to the siblings, Erica and Brayden Diebold, back in March when their older brother first went missing.

Mitchell was in Cozumel completing diving certification classes when he vanished, leaving his service dog back at his place without food or water for a week.

His backpack was later discovered near the shore.

While the #FindBlakeMitchell campaign has reached people worldwide, Erica said it's attracting a group of people ready to take advantage of her family during a difficult time.

She said the scammer told her he was going to kill Blake if he didn't get the money, even going to the point of pretending he was a doctor.

Erica admits her family did send the alleged kidnapper a couple hundred bucks just to hear Blake's voice before realizing it was all a lie.

"People take advantage of your weaknesses," Erica said.

The Canadian County Sheriff's Office is investigating the scam.

But as for Blake, his disappearance still remains a mystery.

"30-year-old male men don't just go missing for four months and not be found," Erica said.

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