Md. woman missing in Hawaii sent package on day she disappeared

The family of woman from Maryland who went missing May 8 in Hawaii while out jogging on a hiking trail in the Makawao Forest Reserve is now hoping new information about the timeline of her disappearance will help bring her home.

Amanda Eller, 35, of Mechanicsville, Maryland, graduated from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore with a doctorate in physical therapy.

She was last seen along the Makawao trail, which is about 12 miles from her home in Haiku.

Her SUV and all her belongings, including her cellphone, were found parked near the Makawao Forest. Now, her friend Sarah Haynes says a package delivered to her parents’ home in North Carolina from Eller was sent the day she disappeared.

“It was a really sweet Mother’s Day gift and various items and a really lovely letter telling her how much she loved her and her happy, future life,” Haynes said.

The package, timestamped 10:19 a.m., is providing new clues.

Eller is now believed to have arrived at the trail sometime between 10:40 a.m. and 5 p.m. Haynes says security footage from a nearby mall also shows Eller leaving the post office minutes after dropping off the package.

“This is very important because we’re talking to hikers, to people, ‘What did you hear, what did you see?'” added Haynes.

Friends and family have also put calls out to homes and businesses along the route she likely traveled to collect surveillance footage.

Search and rescue efforts were called off by firefighters 72 hours after her disappearance but police are still searching for any evidence connected to the investigation. Volunteers are also on the ground, hoping to find clues along the trail.

A Facebook group has also been created, dedicated to bringing Eller home. So far, they have received thousands of messages from people, many of whom were on the trail that day.

When considering how long Eller is likely to be able to survive in the forest, Haynes said, “We feel very hopeful that we’ve got more than two weeks to find her, maybe longer.”

Eller’s parents are offering a reward of $10,000 for any information leading to her safe return.

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Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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