Calif. Mom Vanished in June After Going on Road Trip — and Friends Think Foul Play Is Involved

Though authorities believe no foul play was involved in the disappearance of missing California single mom Erika Lloyd, those close with her fear she may have gotten involved with the wrong people.

The last time Lloyd's best friend, Rebecca Malone, saw the 37-year-old Walnut Creek woman was on June 10 — exactly one week before she was reported missing.

“Something seemed off, so I was like, ‘This is a wellness check,’" Malone tells PEOPLE. “We sat with a glass of wine commiserating, like, ‘Wow, these are crazy times.’"

When Malone phoned four days later, Lloyd said she needed a mental-health break. “She told me, ‘I’m going to be fine,’" says Malone. “That’s the last time I spoke to her.”

For more on Erika Lloyd's disappearance — and what her friends and family think — subscribe now to PEOPLE, or pick up this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday.

Lloyd's family told KESQ  their daughter went on a "pandemic road trip" to Joshua Tree National Park to help take her mind off things.

"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 trying to home-school her son, it was starting to get to her, the pressure and not having any income."

But two days into her trip, Lloyd vanished.

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Both Malone and friend Victoria Herrera tell PEOPLE that Lloyd had mentioned making new friends before she disappeared. She even reportedly told her roommates on June 14 that people were watching her campsite for her. But investigators have not been able to ascertain the identities of the people Lloyd said she was meeting.

Lloyd's friends say she adores her 12-year-old son — now living with his father — and would never choose to leave him.

"She would never leave her son and not come home," Malone says.

Lloyd's family fear she may have had an accident or lost her memory. They are now working with cave and mine expert Doug Billings, who has previously handled missing persons cases in the area.

Her case was also featured in a recent episode of PEOPLE (the TV Show).

Lloyd is described as standing 5-feet-4 inches tall and weighing 125 pounds. She has dark brown hair and blue eyes. Anyone with information on Lloyd's whereabouts is urged to contact the Walnut Creek Police Department or the Morongo Basin station of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department at 760-366-4175.

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