FBI Not Actively Seeking Suspects in Woman’s Car Trunk Death

Investigators have not uncovered any evidence to indicate anyone else was involved

By Molly Priddy

HELENA — The FBI is not actively seeking any suspects in the case of a Montana woman who was found dead in the trunk of her car in Spokane, Washington after telling her family she had been abducted from a rest stop north of Helena, the agency said Wednesday.

While the investigation into the Sept. 6 death of Rita Maze of Great Falls is not complete, investigators so far have not uncovered any evidence to indicate anyone else was involved. Some lab tests are pending. Maze, 47, had been shot to death, a medical examiner said.

Rochelle Maze has said her panicked mother called on the evening of Sept. 6 saying she had been overpowered at the rest stop, was in the trunk of a moving vehicle and didn’t know where she was. She said she was afraid because her abductor had access to the 9 mm gun she carried for protection. Maze’s body and the gun were found a few hours later in her trunk near Spokane International Airport.

A law enforcement official with knowledge of the case, who was not authorized to speak publicly, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that investigators have found no reason to suspect foul play.

An application for a search warrant filed in Spokane County said Maze was found in her closed trunk with a 9 mm handgun and two shell casings next to her. Her purse containing $50 was in the locked car along with an iPad. The keys were in the ignition.

The family had reported Maze missing after she failed to return to Great Falls from a trip to Helena to visit her mother. Rochelle Maze said they learned her mother’s credit card had been used to make purchases at gas stations in Kingston, Idaho and Ritzville, Washington.

An officer who called Maze’s cellphone after Maze contacted her family said someone answered the phone and the officer heard gunshots, then silence.

Rochelle Maze told The Spokesman-Review at the time that she believed her mother met with foul play and that whoever killed her made it look like she killed herself. She did not immediately respond to a Facebook message or email from The Associated Press seeking comment on Wednesday’s statement.

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