Family Reels After Married Dad Vanishes for 16 Years, Reappears Gay

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Eric Myers: A New Life

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.

He turned to religion and at the age of 13 became fervently evangelical, he said.

"That was when I started thinking, This isn't right. I want to be with men," said Myers

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.

"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," said Myers.

But Myers didn't go back. Two weeks turned into four months, and then, without one phone call home, he headed to Palm Springs, Calif.

Myers said that while searching for a new job, he met Sean Lung, a tourist from Canada, and they immediately connected.

Myers and Lung soon moved in together and frequently traveled together. Myers assumed different identities and took odd jobs that didn't require an ID.

All the while, Eric's family was forced to go through life without their father and dad, and 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.

Myers said that during that time he tried to avoid thinking about the life he had left behind.

"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," said Myers.

Myers' daughter Kirsten, now 30, had a hard time not thinking about her missing father. She sought out ways to ease her pain.

"I think I was 11 when I first started stealing wine and realized that it made me feel less sad," said Ruggiano.

She said she spent years struggling with addiction and got sober largely to lessen the burden on her mother.

"My mother is one of the most selfless people I've ever met," said Ruggiano. "If either my sister or I called her and said, I need you here now, she would absolutely drop everything to be by our side as soon as she needed to."

Anne Myers helped her family cope with their loss throughout the years. Together they celebrated birthdays, proms and graduations -- all without their dad and husband.

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

Sixteen years after disappearing, Myers reappeared.

"There was never any plan to come back, just like there was never any plan to leave, and it just happened," said Myers.

Through a friend, Myers arranged to reconnect with his mother, Joan Myers. He said she welcomed him back with open arms.

"My mother and I were past it with one hug," said Myers.

Today Myers has reconnected with most of his siblings. Myers and Lung moved in with Myers' parents and helped care for his father in the last few years of his life.

The return dealt a severe blow to Myers' now ex-wife and his children, especially his youngest daughter, a mother of two who had finally found happiness and peace in her life.

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