Halloween came and went without Elizabeth Sullivan taking her beloved young daughters out trick-or-treating. Now with Thanksgiving just around the corner, her Navy husband, Matthew, hopes his missing wife will find her way home.
“I’m at the end of my rope,” he told PEOPLE in a rare interview from his home in Point Loma in San Diego. “I’m running on fumes right now, I don’t know where to look. I’m always looking around the neighborhood, trying to catch a glimpse of her. Even if I got a phone call saying she’s okay, it would put my mind at rest. But nothing at this point.”
Elizabeth Ricks Sullivan, 31, disappeared on Oct. 13 and was reported missing by her friend after she failed to show up for an outing.
Police say there has been only one confirmed sighting of Elizabeth, at a nearby soccer field on Oct. 19, and that was from a bystander who did not know her personally. Elizabeth’s cell phone stopped working immediately after her disappearance and her almost daily phone calls to her dad also ceased.
Searching for Answers
The mother of two girls, 4 and 2, had been going out with friends more often of late. Sullivan’s husband Matthew, 29, admits the two were having marital problems, and that he was letting her “have her space.”
She’s never been gone more than an overnight in the past, he insists.
“The girls need their mom. She’s never been gone this long, nowhere near this long. She’s been with them their whole lives, while I was at work or on deployment, she was always here,” he says, fighting back tears. “They definitely are not used to [her being gone].”
A Husband Devastated
The serviceman says he “feels lost.” Matthew initially took leave, but recently went back to work in an attempt to get back to normal.
“It’s killing me. I’ve lost 25 lbs. It’s taking a toll physically and mentally,” he says. “I think about her constantly, I can’t stop. The girls are my biggest concern right now. I have to keep going, try to do what I have to do for them, and keep praying.”
And some negative statements by those who do not know the family have caused added stress.
“I don’t want negativity, I don’t want her to be seen in a bad way. She’s a good mom,” Matthew says, adding that any little piece of information on her whereabouts, “I’ll be thankful for.”
Leaning on Friends
Matthew has been getting a lot of support through the Navy and his community, he says.
“Friends have reached out in social media, I’ve seen the flyers and people are getting out there and looking,” Matthew says. “The girls are getting counseling. They don’t grasp the situation and I avoid talking about anything around them because they soak up everything like sponges. I’m trying not to let it affect them.”
“I know when they see her, they are going to be so happy.”
In the meantime, Sullivan’s father, Tony Ricks, and cousin Christine have set up a Go Fund Me site to cover expenses in trying to find Elizabeth. On Friday, they flew from their homes in Hampton, Virginia, where Ricks is a fourth-grade teacher, to talk to detectives and see Elizabeth’s girls.
Ricks, who tells PEOPLE he and his daughter were in constant contact until the day she disappeared, told NBC 7 in San Diego on Sunday, “It can happen to you. When it does, it gets very personal and it takes on a whole new light when it happens to you. You get a strength like you never had before because that’s my daughter and I’m bringing her home.”