Amanda Eller, a 35-year-old yoga instructor and physical therapist from Hawaii, went missing during a hike in Maui on Wednesday, May 8. Eller, who is an avid runner and hiker, was last seen by her boyfriend that morning around 7:30 a.m. at her home in Haiku, HI, before she left for Makawao Forest Reserve, a place she often visited.
She was reported missing on May 9, the Maui Police Department said in a Facebook post. Eller’s Toyota RAV4 was found by police in the Makawao Forest Reserve’s parking lot that morning at around 9:50 a.m. Eller's wallet, cell phone, and car key were found in her car, and it was stated that it was normal that she would leave her cell behind.
Eller is said to be approximately 5 feet 9 inches tall and 145 pounds with an athletic build. She has brown hair and brown eyes.
Friends and family worry there was foul play.
Eller’s family and friends worry that the hiker is either lost, hurt, or worse, according to an early flyer. “Generally speaking, it’s highly likely she’s lost or injured in this forest, and it's equally as likely that she was intercepted by someone in the parking lot or on her run,” Sarah Haynes, the family’s spokesperson who is leading the volunteer search party, told Maui News. “As the days go by, and more and more people are in the forest, we get closer and closer to foul play.”
Despite immense search efforts made by the fire department, police, and a volunteer search team of hundreds, Eller is still missing as of Thursday, and no evidence has been uncovered explaining what happened to her, according to Maui Now. The volunteer search team plans on continuing the search until Eller is found.
Amanda Eller’s boyfriend is not a suspect.
Benjamin Konkol, Eller’s boyfriend, was the last person to see her on the morning of May 8. At a news conference on the evening of May 12, Konkol said it had been her day off and that she didn’t have plans, according to Crime Online. Eller was meditating when Konkol last saw her. “She really likes to be alone in nature, too…so it’s not unlike her to do that,” Konkol said. “The moment that she did not arrive home at night, I knew something was wrong. It did not feel good in my body.”
A Facebook post by Haynes stated that Konkol is not believed to be connected to his girlfriend’s disappearance. “It pains me to even have to say this. People are asking about her boyfriend since he was the last one to officially see her, and of course those closest to her are looked at,” the post read. “The family and Amanda's friends do not feel that Ben is at all connected. For starters, he is a very sweet person and they had a loving relationship. He has been working on my property and I have always known him to be kind, helpful, and of the highest integrity. He is a gentle, sweet soul. Additionally the park is locked with a steel gate overnight and her car arrived after they opened, when he was at work.”
Eller’s grandmother, Ann Eller, told RadarOnline.com that Konkol was questioned and polygraphed. The elder Eller said the boyfriend was cleared by police and is currently not considered a suspect.
Where Amanda Eller was last seen the day of her disappearance.
Surveillance footage shows that Eller went to the store at 10:11 a.m. the day of her disappearance to buy Mother’s Day gifts and mailed the package at the post office at 10:21 a.m. On Monday, May 13, Eller’s parents’ pet sitter received the package, according to an update on the Find Amanda Facebook page. The post said that the shipment “was filled with beautiful items and a lovely letter which included Amanda’s love for her family and excitement about her future.”
A second hiker is missing in Maui.
On Monday, May 20, local police announced that Noah Mina, a 35-year-old man, has also been reported missing; Mina was last spotted hiking in a forest in Maui County. According to a Facebook post by Maui 24/7, Mina was hiking in the area of Kapilau Ridge Trail in Wailuku — meanwhile, Eller had parked her car at Kahakapao Trail in Maui. The two missing persons are not believed to be lost in the same forest.
According to Maui Now, Mina’s family issued a statement asking the public to refrain from participating in the search because of “treacherous and dangerous conditions.”
The Eller family is offering a $10,000 reward for anyone with information about Eller’s disappearance or whereabouts. They are also urging people to contact Maui Crime Stoppers at 808-242-6966 or Haynes at 415-336-4591 with any leads. The family has also set up a GoFundMe page to help fund the search efforts.