Investigators are still searching for a California mom who went missing after she set out on a ‘pandemic road trip’ to Joshua Tree National Park.
Mother-of-one Erika Lloyd, 37, was last seen leaving her home in Walnut Creek on June 14, setting off on a seven-hour journey to her destination.
Lloyd’s parents last heard from their daughter on June 16 – the same day her black Honda Accord was found damaged and abandoned at the edge of the Joshua Tree National Park, near the town of Twentynine Palms.
The front and back windscreens of Lloyd’s black Honda Accord were smashed out, but police did not see any signs of foul play.
Lloyd’s parents – Wayne and Ruth – believe it’s possible she was involved in a car accident and ended up injured.
‘We don’t know if she had some memory loss when she got hit by the airbag. Maybe she doesn’t know who she is, we don’t know, we aren’t sure about her mental stage,’ mom Ruth told KESQ on Tuesday.
According to her family, Lloyd decided to take the road trip as she wanted a change of scenery amid the coronavirus lockdown.
‘Being locked down for almost three months, not being able to work and trying to home school her son – it was starting to get to her,’ Ruth stated.
She added that her daughter may have also felt ‘pressure’ as she had no form of income.
However, they do not believe she would have deliberately harmed herself, and are holding out hope that she will be found safe and well.
‘We both feel like that she could still be out here, she could be with people, somebody could have taken her in,’ Ruth stated.
Park rangers were unable to confirm whether Lloyd had been camping in the park prior to the discovery of her car.
‘When the vehicle was noticed inside of the campgrounds there was no camping equipment directly associated with or in the vicinity of it,’ a park official stated.
The massive park, which covers 1,235 square miles, is characterized by stark desert landscapes and rock formations.
There are also several abandoned mines inside the park – prompting some to speculate that Lloyd accidentally fell into one and become trapped.
The Lloyd family are now working with cave and mine expert, Doug Billings, who previously canvassed the park in the search for missing teenager Erin Corwich in 2014.
Corwich, 19, was found several weeks after her disappearance at the bottom of a 100-foot mine shaft.
A former Marine by the name of Christopher Lee was found guilty of strangling Corwich before dumping her body down the abandoned mine.
Meanwhile, police are appealing for anyone with information into Lloyd’s disappearance to come forward.
Her 12-year-old son is now in the care of her parents. They say he is constantly asking as to his mother’s whereabouts.
‘He says “Are you calling about my mom? Are you talking to people? … So he misses her,’ Ruth stated.