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Dad missing 16 years reappears as gay man

08:22 Mon Jul 22 2013
Erin Tennant
Eric Myers started a new life with Sean Lung.
Eric Myers started a new life with Sean Lung.

A married father-of-five who went missing for 16 years and then reappeared alive and well after starting a new life as a gay man is now pleading for forgiveness from the wife and kids he abandoned.

Eric Myers was a successful real estate agent living in the US state of Arizona when he made himself disappear.

The 34-year-old was last seen attending a real estate seminar in San Diego in June 1991.

He had married his high school sweetheart and together the couple had two daughters and three adopted sons from Vietnam.

But Mr Myers complained to his friends about being in debt and his marriage was on the rocks shortly before he vanished because his wife wanted to go to university and he wanted her to remain a housewife.

He was also privately dealing with the stress of his long-hidden secret that he was attracted to other men.

The couple reportedly talked about divorce but Mr Myers said he wanted to do the Christian thing and stay married, he told ABC News.

When he vanished without a trace, police were baffled.

Mr Myers later claimed he was robbed the last day of the conference, so he spent the night in a low-end motel with only a few hundred dollars in his pocket. But instead of returning home the next morning, he crossed the border to Mexico and took a bus to the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, with plans to unwind on the beaches and escape from his life for a little while.

A few weeks turned into four months and he never once called his family.

When he re-entered the US, Mr Myers went to Palm Springs, California to search for work.

It was here that he met Sean Lung, a tourist from Canada.

The two fell in love and moved in together.

Mr Myers then assumed different identities and took odd jobs that did not require an ID.

His wife and children meanwhile were still coping with his inexplicable disappearance.

Daughter Kirsten, who was eight years old when her father took off, said she used to cry herself to sleep every night and even retreated to alcohol at age 11.

She said she only quit drinking to comfort her mother.

Mr Myers was eventually declared legally dead and his family received a life insurance policy for $800,000, which they invested in a trust for the two daughters.

Then, in 2007, cryptic email messages started popping up in the email inboxes of his friends and family.

"Would you be curious in knowing what happened to Eric Myers?" read one. "There was never any plan to come back, just like there was never any plan to leave and it just happened," Mr Myers told ABC News.

"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."

The missing man reconnected with his mother and most of his brothers and sisters, but his wife and children still have not welcomed him back into their lives.

Kirsten, now 30 and married with two children of her own, said she does not believe that her father's sexual orientation is an excuse for abandoning his family.

"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," she said.

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