As you all know, loads of people send me emails about missing persons and the Charley Project in general. (And as you all know, I am often lax in replying. Sorry…) In fact I’ve got a small group of you I call the Charley Project Irregulars, who make a habit of emailing me links to news articles and other information about MPs. I am extremely grateful for any scrap of information people send me. It makes my job that much easier.
Anyway, once in a great while, someone sends me an email asking me to call them. Usually they are a relative of an MP. In fact I can’t remember anytime when this request wasn’t from a relative. This doesn’t happen very often, maybe once or twice a year at most.
I used to call these people without giving it much thought, like nine or ten years ago. And I never ran into any problems as a result. In fact I had some very touching conversations. But now I hesitate to do it. There are a couple of reasons for this:
- The person might want to yell at me about something, and I’d rather get yelled at over email than over the phone.
- The person might ask me questions I’m not capable of answering, or ask me to do something I simply can’t do. Like, if they have a tip on a case and want me to do something about it. It is kind of awkward for me to explain that I can’t help them, and I’d rather do the explaining over email.
- The person might not be who they say they are.
- The person might be who they say they are, but they might also be crazy.
It is for the third and fourth reasons that I am most reluctant to telephone a stranger who writes me about Charley. I’ve already been doxxed once by a certain person who shall not be named, and while nothing terrible resulted from that, I don’t want to take the risk of my cell phone number being made public. It was creepy enough when a stranger called Michael’s mom and asked her to ask me to call him back in 2013, and that person was a law enforcement officer.
Anyway…I got another of those emails asking me to call the sender. She says she’d the daughter of a missing woman profiled on Charley.
How do you recommend I respond to this? I’ve been sitting on this email for four days and I don’t want her to think I’m going to ignore her completely.