The morning of September 6, 2016, was the last time anyone had heard from Rita Maze. She called her husband and daughter in hysterics, reporting that she had been kidnapped from a rest stop in Wolf Creek, Montana by “a large man in a black hoodie.” She had been hit on the head and placed into the trunk of a car. Unsure how many people may have been involved in her abduction or where she was, Rita gave her family as much information she could during the 10-minute phone call. The last words she heard were from her daughter, telling Rita that she loved her before the line went dead.
By the following day, Rita’s body would be found when her car turned up in the parking lot near the Spokane International Airport. It was ruled that the wife and mother had been killed by a single gunshot wound to the chest and abdomen with her own gun, which Rita always carried for protection. Maze’s family had suspected foul play, but authorities refused to release any details to the public until a thorough investigation could be conducted.
The FBI was called to assist in the investigation since interstate travel had been involved. For nearly a year investigators have poured over thousands of hours of surveillance footage, attempting to piece together who kidnapped Rita Maze and what their motive was behind her murder. Now, in a shocking twist, the FBI has revealed that their investigation determined Maze’s death had been a suicide.
In a statement from the FBI, spokeswoman Sandra Yi Barker of the FBI’s Salt Lake City division wrote, “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.”
In spite of the FBI’s ruling, The Spokesman reports that the Maze family still believes that Rita had been the victim of a brutal murder, staged to appear as if it were a suicide.
Last year Rochelle Maze, Rita’s daughter, told the press, “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.”
It would seem that the FBI’s ruling on the Maze case is now raising more questions than providing answers. The biggest mystery is if Maze had killed herself, why had she gone to such elaborate lengths to do so? And if the FBI’s ruling is wrong, does this mean there is a mysterious killer on the loose who is smart enough to fool the nation’s lead investigators?