Montana Mother Kidnapped at Rest Stop Calls Family Before Being Found Dead in Trunk of Her Car
Police say Rita Maze, 47, spoke with her husband and police while inside the trunk of her car
A Montana mother who was kidnapped and held captive was able to call her husband and police before being found dead in the trunk of her own car, authorities say.
Rita Maze, 47, called her husband from the trunk of her car on Tuesday, telling him she had been hit on the head at an Interstate 15 rest stop 40 miles north of Helena, Montana, as she traveled back to her Great Falls home, NBC News reports.
“There were phone conversations with her from the Helena police department just prior to her death so we’re relatively certain of the time she became deceased,” Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said at a Wednesday press conference, noting that officials believe the woman was killed in Spokane County.
Her body was found around midnight on Wednesday 330 miles away in a parking lot near the Spokane, Washington, International Airport, according to NBC News. The cause of her death has not been made public.
“She didn’t know her location, but she was able to talk to them over her cellphone, sporadically, as coverage faded in and out,” Dutton said, according to the Associated Press.
Dutton added that Maze’s husband spoke with her several times and reported her missing, the AP reports. Officials were able to track the cellphone in their efforts to locate the woman.
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The sheriff did not give details about possible suspects or how the kidnapping occurred but said there was a person of interest in the case, according to the AP.
He added that officials are looking into a surveillance video from a convenience store in connection with the case.
Maze’s daughter, Rochelle, told the Great Falls Tribune that she also spoke with her mother in the woman’s final hours.
“I told her that I loved her,” Rochelle said. “That’s the last thing she heard.”
Rochelle said that her mother traveled with a gun and referenced the killer, saying, “She knew he had her gun.” She added that her mother was hysterical and hard to understand during the call.
Rochelle told the Tribune that Maze, a cook at a Great Falls public school, was an “amazing mom.”
“She was fun loving and had an infectious smile and was goofy and a child at heart,” she said. “And she had fun all the time.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up to “defray service expenses.”