Rita Maze had been visiting family in Helena, Montana, and was preparing to drive home to Great Falls the morning of September 6th. She spoke with her husband around 11:25 am, and mentioned that she might visit her mother before heading home. Great Falls is located about 110 miles north and slightly east of Helena, about a one and a half hour drive.
When Rita had still not arrived home by 3:40 pm., her husband Bob began to worry. He tried calling her several times, but she wasn’t answering her phone. By 5:30, Bob contacted their daughter Rochelle, and the two began calling family members. At 8:20 pm, the family reported Rita missing to police.
Just forty minutes later, a license plate reader in Post Falls, Idaho, snapped a photograph of the license plate on Rita’s car, nearly 300 miles west of Helena.
About 10:20 pm, the family received a chilling call from Rita. According to Rochelle, Rita was frantic. She told them she was attacked by a man in a hoodie at a rest stop near Wolf Creek. She said he hit her on the head, and that she was now trapped in the trunk of a car. She said they had been driving a long time. The family was able to tell Rita that they loved her before losing the call. Police also made contact with Rita on her cell phone at about this same time. There are reports that she spoke with police for 10 minutes, but could not tell them where she was. One report states that gunshots were heard during this call.
Police were later able to determine that Rita’s credit card was used at a convenience store in Kingston, Idaho at 4:15 pm, and again at 9:55 pm in Ritzville, WA, about an hour southeast of Spokane.
Helena police used Rita’s cell phone to track her to West Spokane and reached out to Spokane law enforcement around 11:00 pm, telling them that Rita was missing and may be in Spokane County.
It was here, at 1:30 am, that the police discovered Rita’s car, a black Grand Prix. Rita was found dead in the trunk, along with a 9mm pistol and two shell casings.
Her vehicle had traveled about 60 miles northeast from Ritzville back towards Spokane since 9:55 pm, when her credit card was used in Ritzville. Her car was found about 3.5 miles from the airport.
Though the cause of Rita’s death has been identified as a gunshot wound to the abdomen and chest, the Medical Examiner has not yet ruled on the manner of her death, and the police investigation is ongoing.
- 11:25 am – Rita tells her husband she is heading home to Great Falls from Helena.
- 3:40 pm – Rita has not arrived home and is not answering her phone. Her husband calls their daughter at 5:30 pm, and the two begin calling relatives. By 8:20 pm, Rita is reported missing to the police.
- 4:15 pm – Rita’s credit card is used at a convenience store in Kingston, ID.
- 9:00 pm – The license plate on Rita’s car is photographed in Post Falls, ID.
- 9:55 pm – Rita’s credit card is used in Ritzville, WA.
- 10:20 pm – Rita’s family receives a frantic call from Rita. She tells them she was abducted from a rest stop near Wolf Creek by a man in a hoodie. She is in the trunk of a car and they have been driving a long time. Her family is able to tell her that they love her before the call drops.
- 11:00 pm – Helena police contact Spokane law enforcement and tell them that Rita’s phone is pinging from a location in Spokane County. Rita’s car is discovered at 1:30 am, about 3.5 miles from the airport. Rita is deceased. Her body is recovered from the trunk of her car along with a 9mm gun and two shell casings.