Thousands of miles from Hawaii, Bay Area friends of missing woman help with search

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From Hawaii to the Tampa Bay area, Amanda Eller's friends are on a desperate search to find her. The 35-year-old woman was last seen Wednesday morning at Makawao Forest Reserve in Maui County.

"The last thing that I expected to see was a 'missing' poster of my friend," said Shanna Olenik, one of Eller's close friends.

Eller worked as an occupational therapist and yoga instructor in the Bay Area from 2011 to 2015. Olenik and other friends say she moved to Hawaii because she loved to travel and explore nature.

"It's like woman versus wild," said Cecelia Bowles-Jenner, who also met Eller when she lived in Tampa.

Fire officials in Maui searched the forest reserve but called it off after 72 hours, citing the island's search policy.

"Now we can just continue to move forward," said Bowles-Jenner, who, despite being thousands of miles away, is trying to spread the word through social media.

"To help further that search and keep it going because we know we'll find her," said Kristina Soderstrom.

Eller's parents traveled to Hawaii from North Carolina and met with Maui police Monday. The family is offering a $10,000 reward for their daughter's safe return.

The local community and Eller's friends have started an online fundraiser for the family's search efforts.