The family of a yoga instructor who went missing after going on a hike in Hawaii fears she may have been ‘intercepted’ by someone involved in her disappearance.
Amanda Eller, 35, was reported missing on Thursday after she failed to return from a routine hike on a Makawao Forest Reserve trail in Maui.
Eller, who is originally from Maryland, works as a physical therapist and yoga instructor who lives and practices in Haiku.
She was last seen at around 7am on Wednesday at her home by her boyfriend, Ben. He reported that she was in good spirits and looking forward to a day off, friends wrote on a GoFundMe page set up to help search for her.
Her white Toyota RAV4 was later found in a nearby parking lot by police, where she had left her cellphone and wallet.
Family spokeswoman Sarah Haynes said they are growing more fearful that foul play might be involved in her disappearance.
She told Maui News on Monday: ‘Generally speaking, it’s highly likely she’s lost or injured in this forest and its equally as likely that she was intercepted by someone in the parking lot or on her run.
‘As the days go by, and more and more people are in the forest, we get closer and closer to foul play.’
Hundreds of volunteers have been combing the island for the missing woman in a search that has included tracking dogs, helicopters and drones.
Her family is asking for experienced hikers and hunters to help look for her in the densely-covered forest.
Eller’s parents offered a $10,000 reward Saturday for tips that help bring the missing hiker home, and asking anyone with information to contact Maui Crime Stoppers at 808-242-6966.
On Sunday Eller’s mother Julia, who flew into Maui from her home in North Carolina to help with the search, told KITV4: ‘This a mother’s worst nightmare and it has been an emotional roller-coaster.
‘I’ve tried to stay positive. If I let myself get mired in self pity of how terrible this is, I can’t help her if I’m caught up in that.
‘She is an inspiration to me, particularly since I’ve been on my own personal journey lately.’
She claimed Eller is very close to her family and they are hoping their presence their will help put a focus on the search and possibly find her.
She added: ‘I never in a million years thought this would happen to me.’
Eller’s family met with police on Monday to discuss the next stage of the search. They towed her car away from the scene to dust for fingerprints in the hope it will shed light on what happened to her.
Eller’s car key was hidden under the driver’s side front tire, Haynes said. She claimed it would be typical she would unplug and run or hike without her phone.
Haynes claimed Eller is cheerful and well-loved, with no mental health issues or other reasons she may want to disappear or harm herself.
She added: ‘If anyone out there knows anything that may have been done to her, please, we need to get her home.’
Friends worry that something suspicious may have happened to her in the parking lot or on the trail path.
She is described as approximately 5′ 9″, 145 lbs, with long brown hair and an athletic build.
A GoFundMe account has also been set up with a $10,000 goal to help raise funds for the ongoing search for her.