NC woman has been missing in Hawaiian forest for 8 days as massive search continues

Amanda Eller
Amanda Eller Maui Police Department

About 100 volunteers, a helicopter and search dogs have been combing a dense Hawaiian forest for Amanda Eller, who has been missing since May 8, according to a Facebook page coordinating the search efforts.

Eller, 35, is a yoga instructor from the Wilmington, North Carolina area, now living on Maui, WTVD reported.

Police said Eller was last seen at about 7:30 a.m. May 8. She was reported missing the next morning, and police found her Toyota just before 10 a.m. May 9 at Makawao Forest Reserve.

Police said Eller’s car was in the parking lot at the reserve, a regular spot where she would hike or jog, according to KHON.

“The key to Amanda’s car is found under the vehicle’s tire,” police said in a press conference Thursday, the TV station reported. “Inside they find her purse, cell phone, wallet, ID, and credit cards, a backpack and full water bottle are also found inside and a pair of black flip flops are found in the car as well.”

“Knowing her and her time in Hawaii it didn’t surprise me that she didn’t have her phone with her. I spoke to a couple of our friends and my first reaction was ‘Guys she’s gonna be OK’. I guess I was kind of in disbelief,” said Jennifer Thor, who described Eller as a close friend and graduate school roommate, according to WTVD.

Thor told the TV station family and friends are raising money to continue the search.

“They want help from the Hawaii National Guard because they need experienced people to go down these ravines to search for her, so I do have a lot of hope but I do know she is in serious danger,” she told WTVD.

More than 100 volunteers helped with the search Thursday, according to search coordinators.

“Amanda’s flip-flops were in her car. We believe she put on her running shoes and possibly headed off for a swim. The undergarment she has on looks like it could be used as a bathing suit. If you are familiar with the waterfalls and other swimming areas at this forest, please come help us search. It is impossible for us to field all of the tips online, we really need you to come out and help us,” the search volunteers said on the FindAmanda Facebook Wednesday.

“We are by no means calling off this search,” family spokeswoman Sarah Haynes said last weekend, according to the GoFundMe page. “The family is offering $10,000 for Eller’s safe return, and is coordinating volunteers to continue searching the forest.”

Police said there are no signs of foul play or “persons of interest” in the case, KITV reported. In a Thursday press conference they said Amanda’s boyfriend Ben Konkol passed a voluntary polygraph test, according to the station.

Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.