AP NEWS

Search continues for missing Maui woman with NC ties

May 16, 2019

Volunteers continue searching parts of Maui for a 35-year-old woman who went missing one week ago.

According to a press release, Amanda Eller is a physical therapist and yoga instructor who lives in Hawaii. Her father lives outside of Wilmington, and she also has family in Hendersonville and Asheville.

Surveillance video shows Amanda Eller shopping alone and buying a few snacks at the Haiku Market in Hawaii after 10 a.m. on May 8. She was wearing a tank top, yoga pants and slippers and had her hair pulled up.

“Everybody’s talking about it,” said Geri Tourville, who works at the market. “We have posters of her picture on our door, on our windows, just hoping that somebody comes in about finding her. The main thing is to find her.”

Officials say Eller went on a hike or run between 8 a.m. and noon on May 8. That was the last time she was seen.

Other surveillance video shows Eller leaving the Haiku post office across the street after mailing a Mother’s Day package to her parents’ home in North Carolina.

By the time it arrived, Eller’s family had already flown to Maui to look for her.

“It was hard to have Mother’s Day and have people tell me happy Mother’s Day because what I really wanted as a gift was for people to find my daughter,” said Julia Eller, Amanda’s mother.

On Tuesday, after officers searched the Haiku home Amanda shares with her boyfriend, Julia Eller announced that police do not consider him a suspect.

“They inspected the home and then immediately after that Benjamin went and completed the polygraph,” Julia Eller said. “I remain optimistic. Of course ,with anything like this, you have a roller coaster of emotions.”

The official search for Amanda was suspended Sunday, but after receiving a 911 call about possible additional information, police and fire personnel responded to the forest reserve on Wednesday and again on Thursday.

Police also brought in search dogs from Oahu to assist. “That’s the main thing that we’ve been focusing on -- is searching the trails and the offshoots of the trails but the parts that are perilous or dangerous that you could actually go into and get lost in,” said Javier Cantellops, the search party’s team leader.

Volunteers are armed with DPS devices and hiking supplies but are asking for radios and ATVs to assist with their searches through rugged terrain.