Day 16: Reward for Amanda Eller Bumped Up to $50K
On Friday, May 24, 2019, a new piece of information was posted on the FindAmanda Facebook page.
Amanda Eller’s parents, John and Julie, and friends of the family are offering up to $50,000 (increased from $10,000), for information on the possible abduction of Amanda Eller.
Their daughter, Dr. Amanda Eller, a Maui physical therapist and yoga instructor, has been missing for 16 days as of Friday, May 24, 2019.
The Family & Friends of Amanda Eller are offering a reward of up to $50,000 for definitive information regarding her disappearance and possible abduction from the Makawao Forest Reserve on May 8 2019, and her current location.
“Everyday our hope is renewed that we will find Amanda safe and sound,” said search team leader Chris Berquist. “While time is going by—and that is a very real concern—our ability to search only gets stronger and our tools to keep the search moving in a productive direction keep growing. we are constantly pursuing new ways to improve our ability to find Amanda.”
The is no word yet from Maui police on data extraction from Amanda’s on car infotainment system.
However, the ground search continues using strong guides to take crews deeper in the woods to search from below using recovery statistics based on terrain data.
The Maui and Kaua‘i Search and Rescue K-9 teams have been continuing to help cover ground that volunteer hikes can’t cover as efficiently.
“We are so thankful that they continue to make time to fly over and help us here in Maui,” said Berquist.
From the air, they continue to use drones to check waterfalls and inaccessible sections of ravine and line-of-sight and FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) with the helicopter.
“Today [Thursday, May 23] was incredibly productive,” Berquist said. “We flew the FLIR on Thursday morning to check some of the waterfalls and drainage’s further out than we can hike in a day.”
They finished searching the high-priority terrain in the immediate area and are now moving outwards.
“She could be out pretty far,” said Berquist. “Given the time table and her athleticism, its not even unlikely. She could be disoriented and lost out there. Those of you that have been deep on the hunters trials, you’ve realized how easy it is to get turned around and convinced you’re going the other way. We will absolutely keep looking further and further out.”
“We still have folks coming up to offer us access to their land as far away as Ha‘ikū,” Berquist said.
Plan for Friday, May 24
Today’s plan was a bit different that previous searches. The group met in the base camp parking lot at 8:30 a.m. to begin to search some of Haleakalā Ranch’s pastures with one of their men as a guide and staff support from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Javier Cantellops, the team’s lead in the field, Troy Helmer, lead hunting and local trails consultant, and Berquist helped the Windward Aviation Maui helicopter as spotters from the air for line-of-sight searching from 2 to 4 p.m.
“They will be exploring the deeper search area from a better perspective than we can get from the map so we can continue to keep our searchers safe when we send them out,” said Berquist.
A few areas had been identified for smaller search groups who have a little less time.
Plan for Saturday, May 25
If Amanda is not found today, there is a big push for volunteers for an important weekend search.
“Please, if you can make it, numbers are going to really help on this one,” said Berquist.
“This isn’t something we stop paying attention to after a week or two,” said Berquist. “From here or afar, your support continues to make the search effort stronger. We can’t do this alone or as a small few. We need to stay committed as a community—as friends—as people. Our volunteers keep bringing the passion to push harder every day.”
HLN (CNN Headline News) produced this video of the search for Amana on Monday, May 20. In it FBI agent discusses the missing persons case and search efforts by local authorities and volunteers.
Video footage of the immediate area is needed for data mining by volunteers and the Maui Police Department. (See contact information below.)
Volunteer searchers of all levels, especially strong hikers who know the area and who have good endurance to go “longer and stronger” for a six to eight-hour trek. Hikers who are comfortable in steep terrain and able to be on foot for four to eight hours are most needed.
Drivers: Drivers are needed to stand by to pick up tired hikers throughout the day and at the end of the day.
Volunteer administrators to help with registration, logistics and computer work
Volunteers flier distributors for other areas of Maui.
Food, water, ice: Donations are still needed to sustain search volunteers.
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.
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.
The Maui Police Department is asking ANYONE who was at the Makawao Forest Reserve on Wednesday, May 8, to contact police.
The Maui Police Department has set up a direct number to police for the public to call with any and all tips and information about this investigation. The telephone hotline is (808) 244-6421, or tips may also be emailed to police at [email protected].
*Story by Debra Lordan. Maui Now’s Wendy Osher contributed to this report.