Married Dad, Eric Myers Disappears for 16 Years: Reappears Gay

Eric Myers Devastates Family

Eric Myers Returns Male LoverIn June of 1991, while attending a real estate seminar in San Diego a father and husband, disappeared from his life and vanishing without a trace. In a report broadcast on ABC’s 20/20, the man, Eric Myers, is described as having lived the American dream. Myers who was 34-years-old somehow managed to pull off the great escape.

Myers was the third of five kids born to Don and Joan Myers in a suburb just outside of Phoenix. The conservative, wealthy Myers family lived among luxury homes, picturesque golf courses and influential neighbors. He had every advantage: the best schools, the best neighborhoods and those days, the best toys. In high school, Myers was a popular class president who was also considered a class clown.

After going off to Washington State University Myers realized how much he missed a young lady from his hometown. He soon proposed to and married Anne. Their union was completed by two daughters, Erin and Kirsten. They later adopted three boys from Vietnam. While Myer’s career, as a property manager in his father’s booming real estate business, was taking off, he confided to one of his friends that he was in over his head.

Their family was deeply religious and even with the flawless appearance Eric’s marriage was on the rocks. There was talk of divorce. Eric searched rigorously through the Bible and could not find a way out. He felt trapped but wanted to do the “Christian” thing so he stayed married.

June 25, 1991, as Eric headed to a real estate seminar in San Diego, little did his family know he wouldn’t be coming back.

For almost two decades no one knew where Eric Myers was. Police in two states and a private investigator only turned up dead ends. There were some hints of foul play as authorities searched for Myers, but they all became dead ends. Eric Myers had completely vanished.

After being missing for 16 years and being declared legally dead by his family, Eric Myers decided to come back into his family’s lives.

Why would a wealthy, successful real estate agent living the American dream throw it all away? “I just wanted it all to end. I wanted everything to end,” said Myers in an interview with ABC News. A healthy, successful American man with a wife and five kids just disappeared. His family found out that he checked out of his hotel on the first day of the conference but that was all. Nobody knew where he went of what happened to him. The question for this family remained; where did he go, and how could he leave his wife and children behind?

“I remember screaming that I wanted him back,” said his youngest daughter, Kirsten Myers Ruggiano. She was devastated and said she cried herself to sleep every night for weeks. Ruggiano was only 8 at the time and her sister was 10.  By the age of 11 she began experimenting with alcohol and a result spent years struggling with addiction.

Myers says he was robbed on the final day of his San Diego business trip. As a result he spent the night in a seedy motel with only a few hundred dollars in his pocket. He says the next morning he woke up and in a swirling moment of emotional despair headed south, to Mexico.

He doesn’t remember all of the details of his trip but he remembers crossing the border in Tijuana and buying a bus ticket to Cabo San Lucas. Cabo, with its warm sandy beaches, provided a total escape from a life which he says held a secret that would shake his religious roots to their core.

“At 6 years old, I knew I was attracted, drawn very heavily toward other people my same sex,” said Myers.
Myers said that because he was gay, he felt forced to create a fake persona from a young age. He said that he believed having a girlfriend would help make him feel how he was “supposed” to feel. So he turned to religion and at the age of 13 became fervently evangelical.

When religion didn’t work, he thought marrying Anne and starting a family would help. But it didn’t, and ultimately the lie caught up with him on that business trip to San Diego, he said. He remembers thinking that at first Cabo would just be a temporary getaway.

But Myers didn’t go back. Two weeks turned into four months, and without one phone call home to tell his family that he was okay, he headed to Palm Springs, California.

Myers said that while searching for a new job, he met a tourist from Canada named Sean Lung. They hit it off immediately. They soon moved in together and took trips together. Myers took on different identities and found odd jobs that didn’t require an ID. Myers said that during that time he tried to avoid thinking about the life he had left behind.

In 1996, Myers was declared legally dead. His family cashed in a life insurance policy worth $800,000, and the money was placed in trusts for his two daughters.

In 2007, 16 years after Myers disappeared, cryptic email messages started to show up in the inboxes of Myers’ friends and family. One email read, “Would you be curious in knowing what happened to Eric Myers?”

Sixteen years after disappearing, out of nowhere, Myers reappeared. First he connected to his mother, who was elated to see him. Myers and Lung moved in with Myers’ parents and helped care for his father in the last few years of his life. As of today he has also reconnected with most of his siblings.

Myers’ return has thrown his ex-wife and children into emotional turmoil. His daughter Ruggiano, now 30, has not spoken to him since his return.

When Liberty Life Insurance, the company that had paid the death benefit, learned that Eric Myers was alive, they successfully sued the Myers family for the $800,000 plus interest, and the family is now appealing. “It almost hurt more to have him come back than it did for him to go in the first place,” said Ruggiano.

Myers insists that despite the painful consequences he knows he did the right thing by returning home. “To live in a disguise is a horrible prison,” said Myers. He goes on to say, “I cannot say anything to deny that it 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.”

He managed to disappear for 16 years leaving a wife and 5 children. He returns with a new sexual orientation, new lover and will soon have the ability to legally embark on a new marriage. ABC’s 20/20 described him as having lived the American dream while his ex-wife and children simply call his so called dream a nightmare.

By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)


15 Responses to "Married Dad, Eric Myers Disappears for 16 Years: Reappears Gay"

  1. Joan   September 14, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    This story breaks my heart for the daughters!!! Wow. What a true pcs of trash! Let’s forget how he selfishly abondonded his family and moved on…glad he found happiness with his husband. Everyone deserves that right. hiwever, because of his cowardliness to come out and be strong and face his true life he put his family through hell thinking he was dead. In that poor decision his daughters are now force to pay back life insurance money??? If this man has any form of integrity he would take that burden himself. Then maybe just maybe that would prove this story wasn’t all about him and only him. He should be jailed for his very poor decisions in life. Shame on you scumbag.

  2. Tinker   April 30, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    Although I can understand the pain of living a lie I cannot understand how you could go 16 years without reaching out to your children. Your comment says “I” over and over and over. To me it’s pretty telling. I also do not understand why only your biological children were beneficiaries. Why weren’t your adopted children included? And if you’re truly facing the consequences why would you (not your dad or children) accept responsibility for the insurance fraud & repay it? Would you seriously lay this burden on your daughters?

  3. mahituna   June 13, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    bottom line, paid a death benefit and person wasn’t dead. fraud or not people received payment for a incident that didn’t happen, your either dead or alive. no in betweens. there was evidence that once everyone knew he was alive they did nothing to inform the insurance company. that in itself is fraud. to say they paid on a presumption of death is silly. it was a court approved document, what is the insurance company to do? they all would probably like to dispute death certificates so they don’t have to pay. they did the right thing and the family did not, they hid the facts once they where revealed. by not informing the company is in essence hiding the facts. the whole family sounds like a den of liars. just pay up and shut up. that is the honorable thing, something lost on all these people

  4. Joe   September 15, 2013 at 3:37 am

    If you knew you were gay Mr Myers, you should never have got married (and you knew you were), let alone have five kids and then do a runner, you are a coward and selfish in the extreme, I don’t know how you sleep at night, those poor kids, I hope they cut you out forever, you should have stayed away, you disgust me.

  5. KITTY   August 21, 2013 at 11:33 am

    My question is to Eric. If the insurance company is successful in suing the Myers family, are you going to pay for that? What a cruel thing for a family to grieve for someone, collect insurance so they can go on, and provide for the kids that he created, and now to be asked to give it back, when its’ through no fault of their own? Eric should be the one being sued and made to pay it back, not the family.
    My heart goes out to the children that never had a father they deserved.. that it really sad.

    • Eric LungMyers   August 22, 2013 at 8:11 pm

      Thanks for your good thoughts for my children.
      In answer to you insurance question: I agreed to be responsible for the money my daughters collected while I was away and I jointly indemnified my father for everything to do with the court case.
      May I also add – the policy I secured included all of my children and stated that I am the only one who can change the beneficiary. We had 5 children and the 3 boys should not have been dropped from the policy after I was declared missing. More details are covered in my BLOG, ThatWasTheAct,com

  6. Eric LungMyers   August 3, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    There’s a follow-up piece on:
    “The View” aired on August 2nd ( ) < the story starts at the 19:35 minute mark.

    • Cherese Jackson   August 3, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      I will check it out! Thanks

  7. Eric LungMyers   July 31, 2013 at 11:13 am

    After much counseling, returning was the right thing to do for a myriad of reasons. I definitely did not return ‘to feel better about myself’ – if that was my motive, staying away would have been better. The possibility (not guarantee) for healing and closure for others was my motive for returning. Once I successfully grasped hold of my own forgiveness, I strengthened myself in all ways to prepare myself for whatever may become upon my return. At the point I was sure I was ready for anything, I returned.

    I make no excuse. There is none.

    A dam breaks and harms all below it.
    Afterwards, research reveals the weaknesses of the dam – not making ANY excuse for not addressing what should have been addressed before the dam broke.
    The research is done to help others to see what weaknesses must be addressed to avoid such harm in the future.

    What made me go off the deep end are NOT justifications or excuses. The dam broke. I speak my “WHY” so that others will be true to their real selves and thereby avoid breaking (or even getting into the ‘damn’ situation in the first place). Not being true to self (eventually) always results in collateral damage…which is wrong and painful for all involved.

    I felt I had failed as a husband and father and I could not accept myself as a gay man. I had nothing left to live for. Then I got robbed and I snapped. I didn’t decide to leave my family – I had a breakdown and left. I would not have done what I did if I was mentally healthy.

    I never thought about running away. In San Diego, I was traumatized by a robbery. I was broken down, weak and I cracked. My greatest fear was losing my entire family and the life I knew, if they found out I was gay. I grew up in the 60s. When it was not OK to be gay. (Others who have lived in fear, shame and hatred may not have cracked. I was weak and I did.) I thought of killing myself 3 times when I was 13. I became a religious fanatic hoping to cure myself. In that religion, divorce and being gay are not options. In my mind I did not have a choice. I failed with my family and my faith failed me. Killing myself was an option too.
    I am humbly greatly sorry for all the harm my damn situation brought to everyone.

    ABC’s 20/20 program, “I Escaped My Life…” took 100s hours of coverage and edited it into 21 mins of Sensationalism vs. Balance Journalism – for Perspective/Understanding check out

    Others, who have made huge mistakes, hide. One more closet I’m not willing to be in. This is a discussion to reduce such future tragedies. If my motive was to be viewed positively, I would have stayed away. Before, I couldn’t face my life; now I can AND AM.
    I am here to offer my previous weaknesses as lessons for others, to help as many as possible to avoid my pitfalls.

    I made a serious mistake and if anyone reading this will learn from it, and not do anything hurtful by living a charade, then some good can result.

    • Cherese Jackson   July 31, 2013 at 11:23 am

      Mr. Myers,

      Thank you for your comment as well as the courage it took to share your story I’m sure your transparency will help many, who otherwise, would never have the courage to walk in “their” truth.

  8. Sandi   July 26, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Narcissistic Personality! Cares for no one but his own wants, needs, pleasures, and totally will disregard any one else who has, unfortunately, come to love or care for him.

  9. Miguel V.   July 23, 2013 at 6:42 am

    I can’t wait for the soon-to-come era where gay people won’t feel the need to live a straight life. (I think LGBT people born after 1990 won’t feel this need.) This is a heart-breaking example of what many gay people *WISH* they could have done; just get away from it all.

    This guy Eric did, and it seems to have devastated his family. I feel everyone lost in this situation, even Eric; though he did get what he wanted in living a gay life, look at the cost of it. To have your very own daughters denounce you, avoid you, even loathe you for the pain you caused them… that’s failing as a parent. He is most certainly right to live his only life as he chooses, but man! He *REALLY* chose a f***ed up way to do so.

    I hope I don’t have to read more of these stories as I get into my 30’s… =/

  10. timtak   July 22, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    If you listen to his interview here, he sounds strangely self-centred

    Scary stuff. When people feel themselves to be victims, they loose their empathy completely. I think that he still in the desert. Poor sons and daughters.

  11. Tatiana Guzman   July 22, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    What a sicko! can’t believe the cynicism in this man


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