It’s been nine days since Maui woman Amanda Eller disappeared.
She was last seen by her boyfriend Benjamin Konkol on May 8, 2019.
And Konkol believes she’s still alive.
Konkol said he met Eller on Maui about a year ago and they moved in together shortly after.
“I was doing carpentry work on her house and was just struck by her presence,” he said.
“It took me a while to get the courage to ask her out but I finally did and ever since our first date we’ve been together.”
The couple moved into their new Haiku home about four months ago.
Konkol said he was surprised when his boss dropped him off after work on May 8 and didn’t see Eller’s car.
“I mean it was definitely strange, but we’re independent people and I thought she was doing something with a friend,” Konkol said.
He said he started to panic when she still wasn’t there by morning.
He said he called the hospital thinking she had crashed her car, but when she wasn’t there, he called the police.
“I called the cops and reported a missing person which is hard because I didn’t want that reality to be real, but that’s when it became real and that’s when the Deputy found her car and I raced out to the woods,” he said.
The 31-year-old was upset when police wouldn’t let him search the area right away.
“It was frustrating in a way, I know they’re doing their job and they had the dogs out there, but I was just sitting in that parking lot so anxious. I felt like she’s my soulmate and I’m so connected to her, I feel like if there was any way she would guide me to her or I would be able to sense her,” Konkol said.
He was also surprised when police started questioning him. Konkol passed a polygraph on Tuesday. Maui Police said on Thursday that Konkol was not considered a person of interest.
“I never even considered that and even when they were asking me questions, in the beginning, treating me like a suspect I was confused like, ‘Why are you questioning me?’ I don’t understand this like we just need to find her, stop wasting your time— and finally, it dawned on me, ‘Oh there’s been other cases where I guess the person closest has been part of it.’”
Konkol said he accepted that reality and let police search his truck and house.
He’s been focusing on finding Amanda every day since he last saw her.
“She does love waterfalls, there’s a lot of gulches, it’s easy to slip and fall if she was playing around in those areas,” he said. “So that’s where I’ve been focusing my searches near the waters and near the slippery gulches and the muddy areas where someone could get stuck or lost.”
“Every day is hard of course, it’s hard to get out of bed, it’s hard to keep it from destroying me…I know she’s up there or I feel her in this world still, I really feel she’s alive and we’re going to find her,” Konkol said.
He said he’s been avoiding social media and people’s comments towards him.
“I don’t need that burden when I’m doing everything I can to find her and all I want to do is bring her home,” he said.
“I really feel she’s alive and we’re going to find her and it’s that piece of it that keeps me going and I’m not going to give up, she’s the love of my life and I want to marry her and move forward,” he said.
He said he’d like more help from advanced search technologies from the government and military and he will continue to search until she’s found.
“I know there to be higher technologies that were invented and created for these circumstances, the government, the military have created a certain type of tracking systems and I know them to be the Triton or Mobile Hawk that are very highly sophisticated infrared scanning technologies,” he said.
“We can only do so much on the ground so I want to see this type of dedication broaden into our military into higher powers that have it in their hearts to want to find Amanda and want to bring her home as much as we all do and show that we can use this technology and we do have it to serve and help the people.”
Looking back at this week’s developments in the search for Amanda Eller
On Monday we learned that a Mother’s Day package was sent by Eller on the day she disappeared. The package was time-stamped at 10:19 a.m., narrowing down the timeframe for her disappearance.
On Tuesday, Maui police received a 9-1-1 call from above the Makawao Forest Reserve. A search was conducted but nothing was found.
On Wednesday, surveillance footage was released from a Haiku grocery store showing what Amanda was last wearing and that she was alone.
On Thursday, MPD held a press conference saying they do not suspect foul play at this time but are asking for anyone who was at the Makawao Forest Reserve on 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. That number is (808) 244-6421.