Calif. Mom Who Vanished Last June for 'Pandemic Road Trip' Is Found Dead in Desert

Human remains found in Southern California have been identified as missing mother Erika Lloyd, who set out for a solo road trip to Joshua Tree National Park over the summer.

Lloyd was reported missing by her family on June 17, after they had lost contact with her for two days. She was last seen by her roommates on June 14 at her home in Walnut Creek, when she told them she was meeting people at the national park, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

On Jan. 31, human remains were found in a desert field in Wonder Valley. Authorities used dental records to confirm they belonged to the missing 37-year-old single mother. Her cause and manner of death remain unknown.

"Right now is the time for grieving and I encourage everyone to pause and reflect on the beautiful soul we've lost: our Erika," her brother Colin Lloyd wrote on a Facebook page dedicated to finding Lloyd. "Remember her, cherish her memory, celebrate moments past, and laugh; she would always make you laugh. Erika adored everyone; she left a bright smile on everyone's heart; she would remind you of who you truly were and how important and loved you were; she warmed your soul. Let us hold her spirit dearly, and allow it to work through us to serve others (what she would want us to do)."

At the time of her disappearance, Lloyd's family told local station KESQ the drive was supposed to be a "pandemic road trip" so she could take her mind off things. Lloyd was reportedly having a hard time owning a small business during the coronavirus pandemic, being a single mother to a 12-year-old son and coming to terms with the current state of the world.

"She seemed like she was fine," Lloyd's mother, Ruth Lloyd, said. "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."

Now, as authorities await the autopsy results, Lloyd's family hopes her death will be a lesson to some.

"My wish is that we can all lean in a little closer," her brother wrote on Facebook. "Hold each other up, and remind each other more often that we're here for one another with open arms and endless love; it's what she would have wanted; it's the spirit of who she was."

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