No one has heard from Michelle Erickson in a week. But family members remain optimistic, calling Monday the first real full day of searching for her.
And now that word of their missing loved one is spreading, they hope someone will provide them with information that will lead them to her.
Erickson was last heard from on June 9. A store receipt shows she bought groceries at a Wal-Mart in the Fort Union area about 7:20 p.m., said her cousin, Travis Godfrey. By 8 p.m., she was on the phone talking to her former stepson, making arrangements to cut his hair at a later date.
That was the last time anyone heard from Erickson. And according to family members, it was also the last time there has been any recorded use of her cell phone and credit cards.
When family members entered her apartment near the Cottonwood Mall a few days later, they found the perishable groceries in the refrigerator, but the dry goods were still in the grocery bags on the floor. Her receipts showed she had also gone to a Rite-Aid that day, Godfrey said. But she did not buy anything out of the ordinary.
Erickson was supposed to be taking care of her parents' dog and bird while
they spent an annual week's vacation on Lake Powell. Erickson's son and daughter, ages 12 and 13, were staying with her parents.
Godfrey and other family members started to think that something was wrong when Erickson, who has her own home cleaning business, failed to show up to an appointment on June 11. That was followed by a call from her ex-husband, with whom she is still on good terms, who said she failed to show up for his son's haircut appointment.
"That's very unlike her," Godfrey said.
On June 12, family members along with a landlord entered Erickson's Cottonwood Heights apartment and shortly after called the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office to file a missing person's report. But a full-blown investigation wasn't launched because family members weren't sure if Erickson decided at the last minute to go to Lake Powell to join her parents and children.
But when her parents returned to Salt Lake City and Erickson wasn't with them, an investigation went into full swing.
"It's very surreal. I'm driving and I completely break down and cry. And the other side of me is angry. Then I ask what can I do," Godfrey said. "It's a roller coaster of emotions."
There were no signs of forced entry into Erickson's apartment, said Salt Lake County Sheriff's Lt. Paul Jaroscak. As of Monday, there was no evidence to suggest Erickson's disappearance was the result of foul play, he said.
Erickson battled with depression about seven years ago, according to Godfrey. But he was not aware of any problems recently, and noted that she lived for her children.
"It could be any number of things," he said of the reason for his cousin's disappearance. "She could be in a ditch somewhere, she could be on her way to Vegas, she could be locked up in somebody's basement, she could be taking her own life."
Jaroscak said there are several regions in which detectives would be looking for clues on Erickson's whereabouts, including Wendover and "places up north." Those are places she has gone in the past or likes to visit, he said.
"Right now, we're trying to put together a timeline (of her movements)," Jaroscak said.
Erickson is 5 feet 3 inches tall, 135 pounds with hazel eyes. Godfrey said she changed her hair color a lot, but was last seen with chin-length hair with red and blonde highlights.
Erickson's car has also been missing. She was driving a 2001 red Pontiac Grand Am 4-door with Utah license plate 209 NKU. There was a pink, sparkly Superman sticker on the rear window of the driver's side.
Anyone with information on Erickson or her car can call the sheriff's office at 743-7000."Even if you're 5 percent sure (about what you saw), call. I think anything at this point will be helpful," Godfrey said.