"Hope is not lost. There's still so much of a chance that we can find her," Benjamin Konkol says of his missing girlfriend Amanda Eller
Benjamin Konkol has searched tirelessly for his girlfriend, Amanda Eller, since she vanished from a Hawaii nature reserve on Maui over a week ago, he said in a new interview.
Konkol told ABC News he was the last person to see the yoga instructor at their Haiku home on May 8 and reported her missing when she didn’t return home from an apparent hike in the Makawao Forest Reserve. Now he fears Eller, 35, may be trapped in the thick forest full of creeks, brush and ravines.
“Due to how thick the foliage is, we could have walked past her, for all we know,” Konkol told the outlet. “She could be unconscious at this point. Calling for her is helpful, it could wake her up, but at the same time it’s not necessarily a cue that she’s not in the area.”
Amanda was last seen around 7:30 a.m. that Wednesday and Konkol reported her missing the next day, Maui police said. On the day she was reported missing, police found her white Toyota RAV4 in the parking lot of the reserve around 9:50 a.m., according to the statement.
Hundreds have joined the search for the yoga instructor in the reserve, which has been aided by helicopters, drones, hundreds of on-foot volunteers and tracking dogs, USA Today reported. Konkol and Eller’s family have joined Maui Fire and Rescue and the Maui Fire Department to look for her.
“As soon as they gave me the go-ahead, I went in the woods and I ended up hiking with the cops for a while and then by myself down some streams, basically until my safety was in jeopardy,” he told ABC.
Konkol told ABC he has never been considered a suspect in the case and even voluntarily took — and passed — a lie detector test. He noted that he has been cleared of any suspicions. Meanwhile, Maui police have said they do not suspect foul play, according to KITV.
A spokesperson for the family, Sarah Haynes, has said the family does not believe Konkol is involved in Eller’s disappearance, and her father, John Eller, previously told PEOPLE, “There’s been absolutely zero indication of any foul play or involvement on his part — or anybody’s part for that matter.”
Maui police did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE.
Recently released surveillance footage showed Eller in workout gear heading to the Haiku Post Office the morning she vanished.
She was apparently sending a Mother’s Day package, according to a Facebook page dedicated to finding Eller. Her family said she may be injured in the forest.
“Hope is not lost,” Konkol told ABC. “There’s still so much of a chance that we can find her.”
“Amanda is one of the most amazing people I know,” he added. “She’s radiantly beautiful — driven, successful, intelligent, super kind, loving, just overall wants to live the best life she can live.”