May 8 around 12 PM, the local fire department noticed Amanda's white Toyota RAV-4 vehicle in the parking lot of the Kahakapao Trail. On this day it was not known that she was missing. On the next day when she was reported missing, it was located there with her belongings in it, her wallet and cell phone - but not her Teel Aasics running shoes.
Who is Amanda Eller?
Amanda is a beloved, 35-year-old physical therapist and yoga instructor who lives and practices in Haiku, Maui. She has been missing since Wednesday, May 8 between 8AM and 12PM after setting off to hike/run at the head of the Kahakapao Trail in the Makawao Forest in Maui. Her white Toyota RAV-4 vehicle (license plate LEZ 110) was discovered by the local Fire Dept. in the Kahakapao Trail parking lot around 12PM on the 8th, and she has not been seen or heard from since.
Amanda is approximately 5' 9", 145 lbs., with long brown hair and an athletic build. She is a very positive, energetic, outgoing person who is strong physically, mentally and spiritually. She is widely described as a fun, positive person who loves life, loves nature and the outdoors, and has no known struggles with depression or any other mental or emotional disorders. She maintains a successful physical therapy practice and yoga studio in Haiku and is widely loved by many in the community.
What happened to Amanda?
On Wednesday May 8 around 12 PM, the local fire department noticed Amanda's white Toyota RAV-4 vehicle in the parking lot of the Kahakapao Trail. On this day it was not known that she was missing. On the next day when she was reported missing, it was located there with her belongings in it, her wallet and cell phone - but not her Teel Aasics running shoes. Amanda may have gone running, it was her day off and this is a common place for her to run. It is also normal for her that she would leave her cell behind. Her car key was found hidden under the driver's side front tire. She was last seen around 7AM on Wednesday, May 8 at her Haiku home by her boyfriend, Ben. He reported her being in good spirits and looking forward to a day off.
Amanda may be lost/injured in the Makawao Forest, or, she may have met with foul play. Either way, there is a large effort underway spearheaded by her friends in the community and family members, to search for Amanda in the regions in and surrounding the forest. The Fire Dept. called off their search after 72 hours as is standard protocol, but the police investigation remains open and there are about 112 local volunteers involved.
“We are by no means calling off this search,” Sarah Haynes, the family’s spokesperson said in a news conference on Sunday. The family is offering $10,000 for Eller’s safe return, and is coordinating volunteers to continue searching the forest.
For up-to-the-minute updates on progress of the search for Amanda, visit the Find Amanda Facebook page
This GoFundMe page has been established to help Amanda's family and friends cover the costs of taking on an extended search for her, now that the Fire Dept. has called off the "official" search. Funds for Emergency Support, hiring experienced climbers/rappellers/hikers, water and supplies, helicopter and drone services, and other services will be needed on an ongoing basis. Family, friends and professional colleagues of the Eller family have set up the page for anyone who would like to support their efforts and aren't able to be present on the scene.
From Katie York, Amanda's best friend who is "on the ground" in Maui and helping with the search effort:
"By now, Amanda Eller has become a part of your lives. Whether you know her personally, or you’ve been touched by her story, her light and energy have penetrated the nation.
There has been an overwhelming number of you who have asked how you can help - here’s how. We need help funding our search. Whether it’s for search logistics today, or for future recovery efforts tomorrow, we graciously will accept anything you feel you can offer.
These are the resources being obtained through the GoFundMe donations:
Poster, Printing, maps, and copying expenses
Basecamp provisioning including tents, tables, power sources, radio rentals
Helicopter and FLIR rental
Civilian search and rescue services beyond volunteer
ATV and Quad rentals
Private investigator services
Any remaining funds will be used to install wildlife cameras at strategic locations around the Makawao Forrest Reserve trails and other popular recreational areas in Maui to have record of hikers and runner location through the potentially dangerous areas, and significantly reduce search areas and rescue times for missing persons. Hawai‘i ranks eighth in the nation for the number of missing persons per capita, many of which are missing in completely unmonitored recreational areas like the Makawao Forrest Reserve, which are almost impossible to search effectively.
We are eternally grateful for your support, be it monetarily, boots to the ground, whatever you can do.
Our team is strong and today is the day we bring Amanda home. From our Ohana to yours, MAHALO."WNC