- Associated Press - Thursday, September 8, 2016

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The Latest on the death of a Montana woman who was abducted from a rest stop and found in the trunk of her car (all times local):

1:45 p.m.

A Montana woman who was abducted from a highway rest stop and found dead in the trunk of her car near a Washington state airport had been shot to death.

The Spokane County medical examiner’s office said Thursday that a single gunshot wound to the chest and abdomen killed 47-year-old Rita Maze. Her body was found Wednesday near Spokane International Airport.

Hours earlier, she had called her family to say she was in the trunk of a moving vehicle and didn’t know where she was. Her family called authorities, but when they found her car, she was dead.

Rita Maze’s daughter, Rochelle, says her mother was terrified because she knew her abductor had access to the gun she kept in her purse for protection. The coroner’s office didn’t say what type of gun killed Maze.


9:55 a.m.

In the hours before her death, a 47-year-old Montana woman was able to tell her family that she had been abducted by a large man in a black hoodie, that she was in the trunk of a moving vehicle and that she loved them.

Rita Maze of Great Falls spoke with her husband and daughter by cellphone Tuesday evening, and they told law enforcement she reported being hit on the head at a small rest stop north of Helena around noon.

Rochelle Maze tells the Great Falls Tribune that her mom was terrified because she traveled with a gun and knew her abductor had access to it.

Unfortunately, by the time officers using cellphone tower information found Rita Maze’s car near Spokane International Airport early Wednesday, Maze was dead. Her cause of death has not been released.

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