Nearly a year after 47-year-old wife and mother Rita Maze called her family to frantically tell them that she’d been abducted at a Montana rest area, the FBI has concluded their investigation into her death. On September 6, 2016, Maze was traveling alone from Helena to her home in Great Falls, Montana. She would never arrive. Instead, her family got a terrifying call from Maze telling them that she’d been hit over the head and thrown in the trunk of her car.
As KREM reports, Rita Maze was even able to vaguely describe her alleged abductor to her husband during the harrowing phone call. According to her daughter Rochelle, Maze claimed to have been taken by a large man, likely Native American or African American, roughly 6’5″ tall and dressed in a black hoodie. Maze told her family that she’d done everything she could to save herself. During the phone call, which was purportedly made from the trunk of her car, Rita Maze shared her love with her family.
“I told her that I loved her and my Dad told her that he loved her and she said that she loved us and then the phone shut off.”
Montana mom Rita Maze would never speak to her family again. Her body was found in the trunk of her car on September 7, near the Spokane International Airport. She had suffered a single gunshot wound to the chest/abdomen.
Initially, Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies determined that Rita Maze had been attacked by an unknown assailant(s), hit on the head, and thrown into the trunk of her car, a black Pontiac Grand Prix. Maze made her final, seemingly desperate phone call to her family at about 10:25 p.m. on September 6. Maze’s credit card records from the night she vanished indicated that her credit card had been used in Ritzville about a half-hour earlier. Rita Maze’s body was found in the trunk of her car just after midnight in Spokane.
Early in their investigation, officers struggled to reconcile the timeline of events that led to the Montana woman’s death. At one point, investigators announced that they would be releasing a photograph of a “person of interest” in the case, fearing that the abduction and murder were completely random and that the public might be in danger.
Rochelle, Rita’s daughter, agreed that her “happy, smiling” mother had most likely been the victim of a random, senseless act of violence.
“They’re interviewing family members in Helena, I know they’re exhausting every potential lead that they can. I feel that this is a random, evil act upon my mother for whatever reason and that I just hope that they find whoever did this to her.”
However, within days it became clear that there was no person of interest in Rita Maze’s death. Investigators ceased calling her death a homicide. By December 2016, reports KREM, the FBI announced that they were no longer looking for suspects in the case and that they did not believe the public was at risk; adding that the evidence they had collected did not indicate any kind of “foul play” had been involved in the death of Rita Maze.
At that time, her husband and daughter pleaded for privacy, claiming that there was no answer that could make their situation better.
woah.— Christine Rushton (@c_rushton4) August 31, 2017
Sad story. Glad no one else was involved.— MiaCate Kennedy I (@MiaCate) September 1, 2017
This week, roughly eight months after ending their search for suspects in the troubling case, the FBI has officially concluded their investigation into the death of Montana wife and mother, Rita Maze. As KXLY reports, the Bureau had determined that the 47-year-old concocted a fake story about being abducted by a large, non-Caucasian suspect, ultimately leading to her seemingly senseless and random murder. Instead, investigators say that Rita Maze committed suicide, and her death was the result of a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“Based on the evidence gathered, analyzed and processed, we have determined Maze’s death was the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. We will not be releasing any more details.”
According to an FBI spokesperson, why Maze would go to so much trouble to commit suicide is “a big mystery.”
As The Spokesman-Review reports, Rita Maze’s daughter spoke out against the idea that her mother would commit suicide last September, just after investigators announced they would no longer be searching for suspects in the case. According to Rochelle, she believed her mother’s murder was staged to look like a suicide.
“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.”
Media attempts to reach the surviving family members of Rita Maze since the FBI publicly announced the results of their investigation into the death of the Montana woman have been unsuccessful.
[Featured Image by The Maze Family/Facebook]