Intense search for missing Maui woman continues as tips pour in

Intense search for missing Maui woman continues as tips pour in

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Scores of volunteers continue the arduous work of searching a popular Maui hiking trail for any sign of a 35-year-old woman who went missing a week ago.

Meanwhile, Maui police say they’re also actively investigating Amanda Eller’s disappearance, poring over “numerous tips” and following up on leads.

“Although we’ve classified this case as a missing person ― and have no evidence to suggest otherwise ― detectives from our Crimes Against Persons Unit are meticulously sorting through all the information and data we’ve obtained," said Maui assistant Police Chief Victor Ramos.

[Read more: Family of missing Maui hiker flooded with donations to keep search efforts going]

"We are grateful for the many tips and bits of information we received from the general public.”

Eller was last seen May 8, and was reported missing the following day after failing to return home.

Her car and belongings, including her cell phone, were found in the parking lot of the Kahakapao Loop Trail of the Makawao Forest Reserve.

Volunteers have combed the trail in hopes of finding Eller, as they also try to piece together the timeline leading up to her disappearance.

On Wednesday, organizers of a Facebook page set up to help find Eller said that surveillance footage put her at Haiku Market after 10 a.m. May 8, and that she likely arrived at the hiking trail before 11 a.m.

The video showed Eller shopping alone, and buying a few snacks. She was wearing a tank top, yoga pants and slippers and her hair was pulled up.

“Everybody’s talking about it. We have posters of her picture on our door, on our windows ― just hoping that something comes about in finding her. The main thing is to find her,” said Geri Tourville, Haiku Market assistant manager.

Images from other surveillance cameras show 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, her family had already flown to Maui to look for her.

“It was hard to have Mother’s Day and to 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.

Eller’s mother announced Wednesday that police don’t consider her daughter’s boyfriend to be a suspect after officers searched the couple’s Haiku home.

“They inspected the home and then immediately after that Benjamin went and completed the polygraph,” she said.

Eller added, “I remain optimistic. Of course with anything like this, you have a roller coaster of emotions.”

Over the weekend, Maui police and firefighters suspended the search for Eller, but returned to the area Tuesday after getting a 911 call about “possible additional information.”

Rescue crews made it almost two miles above the Kahakapao Trail before turning around because of a loss of daylight. They returned at first light, and search dogs were brought in from Oahu to assist.

Javier Cantellops, who’s helping to lead volunteers in the search, said crews are searching all the main trails and their offshoots. “There are parts that are perilous or dangerous that you could actually go into and get lost in,” he said.

This story will be updated.

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