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California mom disappears after leaving for pandemic road trip

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CHP-Morongo Basin/FacebookBy KARMA ALLEN, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — Authorities are asking for the public’s help in locating a missing California mom who vanished after leaving for what she called a “pandemic road trip,” according to her family.

Erika Lloyd, 37 of Walnut Creek, California, disappeared more than a month ago, after embarking on a seven-hour drive to Joshua Tree National Park on June 14. Family members said they lost contact with her two days later.

Authorities located her black Honda Accord, abandoned and damaged, that same day near Twentynine Palms, a city located in the southern Mojave Desert, about 500 miles from her hometown and not far from her vacation destination.

The front and back windshields of Lloyd’s car were broken, but police said there were no signs of foul play at the scene.

“We both feel like that she could still be out here, she could be with people, somebody could have taken her in,” her father, Wayne Lloyd, told ABC affiliate KESQ-TV. “We are hopeful as of this time the sheriff’s department hasn’t seen anything negative.”

Nathan Lewis, a ranger at the Joshua Tree park where the vehicle was found, said it’s unclear if Lloyd had camped there before she disappeared.

“When the vehicle was noticed inside of the campgrounds there was no camping equipment directly associated with or in the vicinity of it,” Lewis told KESQ. “So we can’t confirm or deny that the individual camped or stayed in the park.”

They said she took the trip to help get her mind off the ongoing pandemic.

“She seemed like she was fine,” her mother, Ruth Lloyd, told KESQ. “Being in lockdown for almost three months not being able to work and she was trying to home school her son, it was starting to get to her, the pressure and not having any income.”

She said she fears that her daughter may have gotten into an accident and became disoriented.

“We don’t know if she had some memory loss when she got hit by the airbag,” Ruth Lloyd said. “Maybe she doesn’t know who she is, we don’t know, we aren’t sure about her mental state.”

Ruth Lloyd said she’s been helping to care for her daughter’s 12-year-old son, who hasn’t stopped asking about her since she left.

“Are you calling about my mom? Are you talking to people? Wayne would say, ‘Yeah, we are trying to find your mom.’ So he misses her,” Ruth Lloyd said. “We know we are not the only family that has gone through this.”

The family said it’s working with Doug Billings, a cave and mine expert, who helped locate the body of 19-year-old Erin Corwin in a mine near Joshua Tree in 2014.

“In this case, I know the area particularly from the Erin Corwin search,” said Doug Billings. “But it’s the same general area, just a little less isolated than Erin’s case.”

“We hiked up and down the washes and canyons that are at the foothill of the mountains there,” he added.

Police said anyone with information on Lloyd’s whereabouts should contact the Walnut Creek Police Department or the Morongo Basin California Highway Patrol office, which is investigating the case.

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