Maui News

Family of Missing Maui Woman Makes Plea for National Guard Help

May 16, 2019, 7:28 AM HST
* Updated May 16, 7:30 AM
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Amanda Eller. Photo courtesy Findamanda Facebook / Sarah Haynes. Maui Now edit.

By Wendy Osher

The search for a missing woman on Maui–35-year-old Amanda Eller–continues.  After a week of searching, today, her family is making a plea.

“Amanda needs to be found today.  She will be found today.  We need the military to activate their humanitarian peace-keeping mission, which is core to our country,” said Jessica Eller, Amanda’s sister-in-law, who is asking for assistance from the National Guard.

We spoke with Jessica Eller via phone in Maryland this morning.  Her husband, Amanda’s brother Chris, is on Maui along with Amanda’s parents John and Julia, and Amanda’s sister, Alicia.

Family members say that while government officials have been very empathetic towards the situation, there has been uncertainty surrounding the ability to activate the national guard in this situation, which is outside of the typical activation for a natural disaster.

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“The terrain is difficult and treacherous and there’s multiple areas that require extreme training and professionals,” said Jessica Eller.

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Police and fire personnel continued to search the area by air and foot after receiving a 9-1-1 call on Tuesday (May 14, 2019) from an area above the Makawao Forest about possible additional information relating to the investigation. Police also brought in additional search dogs from Oʻahu to assist.

Amanda went missing on May 8th and her car was found the following day in the parking lot near the Kahakapao trail head at the Makawao Forest Reserve.  Amanda, who is a physical therapist and yoga instructor, was last seen by her boyfriend, Benjamin Konkol, who said Eller was meditating when he left for work at around 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 8, 2019.

“For search and rescue, we’re working off of volunteers, so the numbers of volunteers that we’re getting is great, but we need more people and we believe that the military, the national guard is trained for this type of mission.”

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New surveillance images were released yesterday of Eller at the Haʻikū Market at 10:10 a.m. on the day she went missing.  According to the Findamanda Facebook page, Amanda purchased an energy bar and boxes of dry tea.  She was wearing dark yoga pants, a light colored tank top and black slippers (flip-flops).  A vehicle matching Eller’s was also observed at the Haʻikū Post Office at 10:19 a.m. on May 8th, which coincides with earlier reports that she had apparently mailed a Mother’s Day package on the day she disappeared.

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