US dad Eric Myers who vanished 16 yrs ago reappears alive, starts new life as gay man

Updated: 22 Jul 2013
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Eric Myers
Walked away: Eric Myers, right, disappeared without a trace in 1991 to start a new life. Now he has a new family - husband Sean Lung, left
 
Eric Myers
Big secret: Myers says he knew since he was 6-years-old that he was attracted to men, but hoped his religion and starting a family would stop the urges

 

Eric Myers
Moved on: After Myers' inexplicable disappearance, his wife Anne moved on as well and has found a significant other of her own
 
Kirsten
Not forgiven: Daughter Kirsten was only 8-years-old when her father disappeared, and she doesn't forgive him for the pain that loss caused her
 
Kirsten
Mother: 16 years later, and Kirsten is a mother of two herself. She says she can't imagine ever leaving them, or how her father could have left her
 
Eric Myers Eric Myers
No regrets: Myers says he doesn't regret reappearing, since living a life in disguise was a 'horrible prison'
 
A married father-of-five who went missing 16 years ago and was legally pronounced dead has reappeared alive and well having started a new life for himself as a gay man.
 
In a report broadcast on ABC's 20/20, the man, Eric Myers, is described as having lived the American dream.
 
The Arizona man married his high school sweetheart Anne, and they started a life having two daughters, Kirtsen and Erin, and adopting three boys from Vietnam.
 

Things seemed to be going well for Myers, who was working for his father's booming property business.
 
But according to one of his friends, Myers complained about being in debt.
 
Added to that stress was the fact that his marriage was on the rocks.
 
Anne wanted to go to college, and that didn't fit into deeply religious Myer's idea of the ideal Christian housewife.
 

Though he tried to find reasons in the bible to keep her from pursuing her education goals, he couldn't find a valid excuse and felt trapped.
 
They talked about divorce, but Myers wanted to do the Christian thing and stay married.
 
Soon after, Myers attended a real estate seminar in San Diego and never came back.
 
At first authorities suspected foul play, but they couldn't find any evidence of a crime. Myers had completely vanished.
 
They did find that he checked out of his hotel the first day of the conference, but kept going to the meetings.
 
No one knew where he was or where he went.
 
According to Myers, he was robbed the last day of the conference, so he spent the night in a seedy motel with only a few hundred dollars in his pocket.
 
The next morning he crossed the border to Mexico and took a bus to Cabo San Lucas.
 
It was there that he decided to unwind on the sandy beaches and escape from his life for a little bit.
 
Myers said he was dealing with the stress of keeping a long-hidden secret: the fact that he was attracted to other men.
 
But the trip to Cabo wasn't meant to be forever.
 
'I'm sitting there, saying, You can do this and still go back. You can still do this and still be OK. Maybe a week. Maybe two weeks,' Myers said.
 
But a few weeks turned into four months and he never once called his family.
 
At that point he reentered the United States and went to Palm Springs, California to search for work.
 
In Palm Springs he met Sean Lung, a tourist from Canada and the two fell in love.
 
They started a new life together and Myers would take odd jobs wherever he could that didn't require an ID.
 
All the while, his family at home suffered from the sudden and inexplicable loss of their husband and father.
 

Daughter Kirsten was only 8-years-old when her father left and remembers crying herself to sleep every night, and screaming that she wanted him back.
 
Myers makes no excuses for the harm he caused his family when he left without a trace.
 

'I cannot say anything to deny that this is the most selfish thing in the world. And I will never be painted as a saint. But no one is all good, and no one is all bad.'
 
In 1996, Myers was declared legally dead and the family received a life insurance policy for $800,000 which they invested in a trust for the two daughters.
 
But no money could replace the fact that their father was gone.
 
Kirsten, now 30 and married with two children of her own, says that she retreated to alcohol at age 11 and found that it made her feel better.
 
She only quit drinking to comfort her mother who she describes as 'one of the most selfless people I've ever met.'
 
Sixteen years later the family had gotten used to life without dad when cryptic messages started popping up in the inboxes of Myers' friends and family, with questions like 'Would you be curious in knowing what happened to Eric Myers?'
 
Their father had returned.
 
'There was never any plan to come back, just like there was never any plan to leave and it just happened,' Myers said.
 
He met first with his mother who forgave him after one hug.
 
Eventually he was able to reconnect with most of his brothers and sisters, but his wife and children still haven't welcomed him back into their lives.
 

For Kirsten, she still can't grapple with why her father would have willingly left her.
 
'I know how much I love my children, and if he loved me even half as much as I loved them, there would be no situation where he would even think that it was okay to leave me,' Kirsten said.
 

It doesn't help that once Myers reappeared, Liberty Life Insurance sued the Myers family for $800,000 plus interest for the plan they awarded them, which the family is appealing.
 
While he knows that coming back into their lives is painful, Myers says he made the right decision to return since living in disguise is a 'horrible prison.'
 
Kirsten doesn't believe that her father's sexual orientation is an excuse for his disappearance.
 
'I know a lot of people who would never do this...absolutely never blame it on their homosexuality. I don't believe that he is capable of love.'
 
 
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