The FBI are investigating whether a Montana woman who was reportedly kidnapped actually locked herself in the trunk of her car and committed suicide.
Rita Maze, 47, of Great Falls, Montana, called her husband and police on Tuesday and said she was kidnapped from a highway rest stop and stuffed in her car trunk.
Maze called her husband at about 10:30 Tuesday, saying “Help me, help me!”
The longtime elementary school cook had traveled to her childhood home in Helena, Montana early Tuesday to visit her mother. She was allegedly kidnapped as she drove back home to Great Falls.
Her husband reported her missing that night.
The FBI, which is leading the investigation, joined the case after Maze’s cell phone signal was tracked across 3 states.
Her car and her body were found just after midnight Wednesday in Spokane, Washington, about 325 miles from Helena, where she was raised with her 10 brothers and sisters.
The strange kidnapping case took a new twist when authorities discovered her gun was locked in the trunk near her body.
Police have ruled out robbery in the case.
Maze’s purse containing $50 was found on the passenger seat of her car and 2 iPads were on the backseat, according to the Spokane Spokesman-Review newspaper.
Police found the keys in the car’s ignition, the newspaper reports.
Blood was on the ground at a Wolf Creek, Montana rest stop off highway I-15. A $20 bill was found on the ground nearby.
A person of interest seen on surveillance video inside a convenience store has been ruled out as a suspect.
“We know where the body was located; we know where she started out,” Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich told the Spokane Spokesman-Review.? “What happened in between? Don’t know.”
Adding to the mystery was Maze’s description of her abductor as a 6’5″ black male or a Native American wearing a hoodie.
American Indians are plentiful in Montana, but 6’5″ black males wearing hoodies are a rare sight.
Maze’s daughter dismissed the theory that her mother killed herself after staging an elaborate hoax.
Rochelle Maze said she spoke with her mother for 10 minutes before she died on Tuesday.
She said her mother was “hysterical” and hard to understand when they spoke.
“She did not hit herself, stuff herself in the truck and drive all the way to Spokane and shoot herself,” Maze told the paper.
Rochelle said her mother’s credit card was used several times at convenience stores in Montana and Idaho.
“I believe they shot her and left the gun and keys in there to make it look like she killed herself,” Rochelle told the paper. “I know she did not.”