Amanda Eller: Found in Forest Alive
Maui Now has received reports from volunteer search organizers that Amanda Eller has been found alive about five to seven miles from the Makawao Forest base camp site, close to Twin Falls in the Haʻikū forest, deep in a gulch.
Shortly before 5:15 p.m., team leader Chris Berquist spoke to us via phone saying, “We found her alive and well. She just got delivered to the heliport and is on her way to the hospital… she is walking and healthy. She was just very lost.”
Berquist said he was conducting an air search along with Javier Cantellops and Troy Helmer (one of the hunters assisting) and were up in a helicopter when they spotted Eller.
“We got dropped off on a bluff up top. We hiked down to her while Air 1 was on its way. Air 1 sent in a basket and they littered her out; and the Air 1 also pulled us out and dropped us off on a bluff. Then our original helicopter came back and picked us up,” said Berquist.
“She was very aware, very alert. She looks a little skinnier than she was last time, I think, and she’s a little tanner than she was, but other than that, perfectly healthy,” he said.
Berquist said Eller seemed a little confused and a little overwhelmed, but was, “holding it together.”
According to Berquist, Eller had lost her shoes and was barefoot, but was wearing the same clothes that she had on when she went missing on May 8, 2019.
“She had been eating plants for several days and staying alive,” said Berquist.
Maui Now has received confirmation of a positive identification.
Further details about the woman’s condition are forthcoming.
Maui police provided the following update at 6:54 p.m. this evening:
On Friday, May 24, 2019 at about 3:45 p.m., a female was spotted in the area of Kailua reservoir by searchers in a helicopter. The Maui Fire Department responded and were able to extricate the female. The female was identified as Amanda Eller, who was reported missing on May 9, 2019. She was alive and transported to the hospital for evaluation. Police are in the process of interviewing her and documenting injuries as part of their investigation. The case is considered closed. The Maui Police Department expresses their gratitude to the family, community and partner agencies for all their efforts.
Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said: “We are overjoyed to learn that she has been found. We hope and pray that she and her family will fully recover from this ordeal. This search and rescue was truly a community collaboration of Maui County first responders, family, friends and community volunteers. I extend my deepest appreciation for everyone involved in searching for and locating Amanda. Your work, determination and sacrifice has helped return her to her loving family. God bless them all.”
***Check back for further updates, which will be posted as they become available.
During a press conference, organized by volunteers on Sunday, May 12, 2019, Eller’s boyfriend said he was the last person to see Eller, and that she was meditating when he left for work at around 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 8, 2019.
Maui police say surveillance shows the 35-year-old physical therapist and yoga instructor mailing a package at the Haʻikū Post Office on the day she went missing at approximately 10:19 a.m.
At approximately 12:12 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8, 2019, police say Amanda’s Toyota Rav4, license plate number LEZ110 was observed within the gravel parking lot near the “Hunter’s Trail” at the Makawao Forest Reserve by off duty Maui Fire
Department personnel, who had gone for a hike.
On Thursday, May 9, 2019, at about 7:21 a.m., the Maui Police Department was contacted by Eller’s live-in boyfriend who reported Eller missing and described several possible locations that Amanda liked to frequent, including the Makawao Forest Reserve, according to police.
*Story by Wendy Osher. Maui Now’s Debra Lordan contributed to this report.