As the search for Amanda Eller continues after her disappearance a week ago, her family shut down speculation around her boyfriend’s involvement but do suspect foul play.
The 35-year-old yoga instructor disappeared from the Makawao Forest Reserve in Maui on May 8, but her family doesn’t believe that Benjamin Konkol, Amanda’s boyfriend, played any part in her disappearance.
“So far there’s been absolutely zero indication of any foul play or involvement on his part — or anybody’s part for that matter,” John Eller, Amanda’s father told PEOPLE.
Benjamin was the last person to see Amanda alive around 7 am that morning as he said during a press conference on Sunday, “I was the last person to see her, and it was Wednesday morning before I went to work … She really likes to be alone in nature too … so it’s not unlike her to do that.”
When Amanda didn’t return home that evening, Benjamin knew something was wrong and reported her missing the next morning. Officials then found her white Toyota RAV4 parked in the Makawao Forest Reserve parking lot at about 9:50 am on Thursday.
According to the family’s spokesperson Sarah Hynes, Benjamin “was at work” when Amanda went missing. “The family and Amanda’s friends do not feel that Ben is at all connected,” she said.
The family also doesn’t think that Benjamin is capable of being responsible for Amanda’s disappearance as Sarah added, “For starters, he is a very sweet person, and they had a loving relationship. He has been working on my property, and I have always known him to be kind, helpful, and of the highest integrity.”
On the facebook page set up to find Amanda, a reward of $10,000 got offered to anyone with information that leads to her safe return along with various updates of searches and efforts in finding her.
While hundreds of volunteers combed the island in conjunction with tracking dogs, drones, and helicopters, Amanda seemed to have vanished and gave rise to the growing concern that foul play might be involved.
“Generally speaking, it’s highly likely she’s lost or injured in this forest, and it's equally as likely that she was intercepted by someone in the parking lot or on her run,” Sarah Haynes told the NY Post. “As the days go by, and more and more people are in the forest, we get closer and closer to foul play.”
Amanda’s family now asks for experienced rapellers and hunters to help with the search in the densely covered forest areas filled with creeks, ravines, and caves
“We are not anywhere near stopping this search,” Sarah told The Maui News. “We are just getting started. You can live three weeks without food, and there are a lot of water sources up there.”
page also got set up to help fund search efforts while anyone with information can contact Maui Crimestoppers on 808-242-6966.
A similar missing person’s case came to a close last month after an Alabama woman went missing. Efforts in finding the woman went on for days until they finally found her in a hard-to-reach ditch after she crashed her car.