Montana woman found in trunk died from gunshot wound

AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. – The Spokane County Medical Examiner said a woman found dead in the trunk of a car near the Spokane Airport died of a single gunshot wound.

Rita Maze, 47, died from one gunshot wound involving the chest and abdomen. The manner in which she died, is still under investigation.

Officials said Maze was kidnapped from a rest stop near Wolf Creek, Montana as she was driving from Helena to Great Falls on Tuesday.  Maze had been in Helena to visit family and was on her way home to Great Falls when she stopped at the rest area, according to authorities. She was then found dead in the trunk of a car near the Spokane Airport.

Maze's family members said she had a gun in her car and had a permit for it. Authorities said Maze contacted her husband with a cell phone but was unable to give specifics on her location or abduction. They said Maze told them the man had her gun and she was scared. An officer called the number Maze used to call her family, heard gunshots and then nothing. Those shots were heard five minutes before officials had traced the cell phone to the area of Geiger and Spotted Road. 


Deputies located Maze's vehicle around 12:30 a.m. on Geiger. Officials said the car appeared to be unoccupied with the keys in the ignition and a purse in the front seat. In the purse, deputies found about $50 in cash, a folding knife and two semi automatic 9mm pistol magazines.  They also located blood on the ground near the car. Deputies then found Maze in the trunk and called for medics. She was pronounced dead at the scene around 1:30 a.m. Authorities also located a black semi-auto handgun and two casings in the trunk.  

At one point Wednesday, reports surfaced that a suspect was captured on surveillance video where Maze's credit card had been used. A law enforcement official said reports of a possible person of interest that were indicated in preliminary reports were inaccurate. Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said they have not ruled out any possible means of what happened, that includes kidnappings, homicide and suicide.  The FBI has not addressed whether or not there is a suspect at this point. 



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