Maze death: "person of interest" reports were inaccurate

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While Rita Maze was on the phone with her husband, Rochelle Maze called the police officer who had taken the missing person's report.

As her kidnapper drove toward Washington state, Montana resident Rita Maze called her husband from the trunk of her auto, where she was locked by her captor, authorities say. She was found deceased in Spokane in her vehicle. The cause of death was not released.

She was shoved into the boot of her auto after being hit on the head but managed to phone her husband who reported the incident to the police. The medical examiner says she died from a single gunshot wound to the chest and abdomen but notably did not call this a homicide and says it's pending further investigation. By 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, just a few short hours later, investigators had located Rita Maze's vehicle, her dead body inside. As The Great Falls Tribune reports, the husband and daughter of Montana woman Rita Maze called local law enforcement at about 8:20 Tuesday night to report her missing.

Earlier on Tuesday evening, Maze spoke to family members and a Helena police officer by cellphone. We know where she started out.

Police said a "person of interest" had been indentified in the investigation, and surveillance video was also being looked at.

Maze worked for years as a cook at Morningside Elementary in Great Falls. "She was always swimming with us in the pool and throwing us around".

Through her daughter, Mrs Maze told police that her attacker had taken a gun she kept in her purse.

A Montana woman abducted on September 6 was found dead the following day inside the trunk of a vehicle in Washington State. In a taping Thursday afternoon, Rochelle recounted her mother Rita's frantic phone calls.

They were not able to reach Rita Maze again.

On the way back to Great Falls, she filled up on gas, then stopped at a rest area south of Craig, about 50 miles from her house, Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton told the Great Falls Tribune. Her birthday is Sunday. "I'm so heartbroken. Sending love to her family, such a devastating loss." wrote Lorraine Reed.

Rita also had a son, Michael, a sergeant in the Air Force who is stationed in Germany.

"We as a community will come together in this horrific time for the Maze family", the page says.

New information on a big story we've been tracking since Wednesday morning.