"The moment that she did not arrive home at night I knew something was wrong. It did not feel good in my body," said Amanda Eller's boyfriend, Ben
The family of a 35-year-old yoga instructor is offering a $10,000 reward to find the woman who has been missing for five days after she disappeared during a routine hike in a Maui nature reserve.
Amanda Eller lives in Haiku, Maui, and knows the island well, so her family quickly became worried when she didn’t return home Wednesday night from a trail in the Makawao Forest Reserve, according to NBC News.
She was reported missing on Thursday, and about 60 officials from various agencies began searching for her by foot and air that day, NBC reported.
“I was the last person to see her and it was Wednesday morning before I went to work … She really likes to be alone in nature too … so it’s not unlike her to do that,” Eller’s boyfriend Ben said at a Sunday press conference.
He added: “The moment that she did not arrive home at night I knew something was wrong. It did not feel good in my body.”
Maui police found Eller’s white Toyota RAV4 in the reserve parking lot around 9:50 a.m. on Thursday with her phone and wallet inside, USA Today reported. The search included helicopters, drones, hundreds of on-foot volunteers and tracking dogs, according to USA Today. Offshoots of the main trail contain steep drops, and the treacherous terrain features creeks, brush and ravines, complicating search efforts.
“I know Amanda to be an incredibly strong — physically strong as well as emotionally, mentally strong — person,” Eller’s friend, Lucia Maya, told ABC News. “I know that she hikes all the time; she’s a water person … She goes on adventures, so the idea that she somehow went missing while on a hike or a run in the Makawao forest is just hard to believe still.”
Maui Fire Department has suspended its search for Eller, but said it would assist in police efforts if there is new information, KHON reported. However, family and friends of the woman have continued looking, using a Facebook page titled “Findamanda” to organize search efforts.
Eller’s parents, based in Maryland, have offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to her safe return, the Associated Press reported.
“Please, please, hold on Amanda, I’m coming,” Eller’s mother, Julia Eller, told KITV 4. “We still have history to make together, and I need you as part of my life.”
She added: “I never in a million years thought this would happen to me.”
Police are looking at the situation from every angle, working to determine whether there is any foul play, NBC reported.
“We really believe that she’s in the forest … and I hope she is,” Julia told KHON. “But if someone has taken her … we’re not interested in you — we just want our daughter back.”