The search for a missing hiker in Maui, Hawaii, has now entered its sixth day, and her family is offering $10,000 for information leading to her safe return.
Amanda Eller, a 35-year-old yoga instructor and physical therapist who lives on the island, went missing last Wednesday, May 8, said family spokesperson Sarah Haynes at a press conference on Monday morning. Eller appears to have dropped off a Mother’s Day package at the post office around 10 a.m. Hawaii time and then possibly driven to the Makawao Forest Reserve.
She was reported missing on May 9. Maui police found her white Toyota RAV4 parked at the Makawao Forest Reserve that morning, the police department said in a Facebook post. Her cell phone and wallet were inside the vehicle, according to a missing poster released on Findamanda, a Facebook page created for the search.
“Amanda may have gone running, it was her day off and this is a common place for her,” the poster reads. “It is also normal that she would leave her cell behind. Her car key was found hidden under the driver’s side front tire.”
Photos and videos posted on Facebook show volunteer search teams, including search dogs, at the area where Eller’s car was located.
The Maui Fire Department officially called off its search on Sunday after 72 hours, which is the standard period of time it normally assists police in missing person cases, according to The Maui News. A police spokesman told the paper on Sunday said that the police were also no longer “actively looking” in the area, but that they continue to investigate the case. Foul play is being considered.
At Monday’s press conference, the missing woman’s mother, Julia Eller, said that “we really believe she’s in the forest.” She added, “If someone has taken her, we’re not interested in you. We just want our daughter back.”
Haynes, the family spokesperson, said that Amanda Eller’s boyfriend, who was also at the press conference, “is not on our radar at all” as a suspect. “We are not even remotely concerned about Ben’s involvement in this situation,” she said, calling him “a kind, gentle soul who she adored.”
“I have a very strong connection with Amanda,” Ben Konkol said. “The moment she did not arrive home at night, I knew something was wrong.”
John Eller, the missing woman’s father, thanked fire officials, police officers and the community for their help.
The story has been updated to note the new timeline for when Amanda Eller may have arrived at the Makawao Forest Reserve. The three people who previously thought they noticed her hiking that Wednesday between 9:30 and 10 a.m. Hawaii time are now believed to have seen a different woman.
REAL LIFE. REAL NEWS. REAL VOICES.
Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard.