FBI Says Woman Who Was Found Dead in Trunk Committed Suicide

September 3, 2017 Updated: September 4, 2017    

In a puzzling end to an FBI investigation, it was concluded that a woman who self-reported being kidnapped and was found dead in the trunk of her car, killed herself.

Rita Maze, 47, was found on Sept. 7, 2016, near Spokane International Airport in Washington state, CBS News reported. On Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, federal law enforcement officials confirmed that she was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Maze reported that she was abducted at a rest stop near Wolf Creek on Interstate 15, in between Great Falls and Helena, Montana. She said that she was riding in the trunk of a car and didn’t know where she was.

Police traced her cellphone to find her location, and they investigated purchases at gas stations in Idaho and Washington.

“She didn’t know her location, but she was able to talk to them over her cellphone, sporadically, as coverage faded in and out,” Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said last year, The Associated Press reported.

The officer who was searching for her called her cellphone and heard gunshots after someone answered.

Court documents say a handgun and two spent casings lay next to her in the trunk. She died of a single gunshot wound to the torso. 

The FBI in December said that it wasn’t seeking suspects in the case.

FBI spokeswoman Sandra Yi Barker told the Spokesman-Review that she had no idea why Maze would go to great lengths to conceal her suicide. “That’s the big mystery,” she said.

Her daughter recalls speaking with her mother.

“I told her that I loved her,” daughter Rochelle Maze said. “That’s the last thing [her mother] heard.”

Last year, Rochelle said that she didn’t believe her mother had killed herself.

“She did not hit herself, stuff herself in the trunk and drive all the way to Spokane and shoot herself. I believe they shot her and left the gun and keys in there to make it look like she killed herself.”

The deceased was a cook at Morningside Elementary School in Great Falls, the Great Falls Tribune reported.

Here is the full FBI press release:

“The FBI has concluded its investigation into the death of Rita Maze.  Based on the evidence gathered, analyzed and processed, we have determined Maze’s death was the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  Maze’s body was found in her vehicle in Spokane, Washington on September 7th, 2016.  We would like to thank our following partners for their assistance in the case: Lewis & Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, Helena Police Department, Cascade County Sheriff’s Office, Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office and Washington State Patrol Crime Lab.”