Search for Amanda Eller, missing hiker in Hawaii, extends into fifth day

While the Maui fire department has called off its search, police are still investigating and volunteers are searching the forest where the woman is believed to be.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By Ben Kesslen

The search for a missing hiker in Hawaii has stretched into its fifth day, as her family offered a financial reward for her safe return.

Amanda Eller, 35, was reported missing last Thursday and was last seen the day before, according to Maui County officials.

Eller’s SUV was found in the parking lot of the Makawao Forest Reserve on Thursday, with her cellphone and wallet still inside. She is a physical therapist and yoga instructor who lives in Maui.

Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.

"The moment she did not arrive home at night, I knew something was wrong," Eller's boyfriend said at a press conference Sunday. He reported his girlfriend missing Thursday morning.

About 60 officials from the Maui police, fire and forestry departments searched for the missing woman on foot and by air.

But the fire department suspended its search Sunday, according to Eller’s family, who are not yet giving up hope but did praise the department’s effort.

“We are by no means calling off this search,” Sarah Haynes, the family’s spokesperson, said in the press conference. The family is offering $10,000 for Eller’s safe return, and is coordinating volunteers to continue searching the forest. On Sunday, they said they had 112 people searching for Eller.

Haynes said police are still involved, and with the help of the FBI are looking into all possibilities, including that Eller was a victim of foul play.

Eller’s parents believe their daughter went for a hike Wednesday, something she often did, and are hoping the rain that has drenched Maui is keeping her alive by providing drinking water.

The dense forest where Eller is believed to be is full of caves, ravines and trenches, which poses challenges for the searchers.

"I cannot imagine my life without her in it. I really can't," Eller's mother, Julia, said in an interview with NBC News. "We don't care the details of who and what, we just want our daughter back."

Sarah Twarog contributed.