9 Sep 2016

Kidnapped US woman calls family from boot before dying

9:39 am on 9 September 2016

A woman who was abducted in the US state of Montana spoke to her family by telephone several times before she died.

Rita Maze (left), spoke with her daughter Rochelle after she had been kidnapped.

Rita Maze (left), spoke with her daughter Rochelle after she had been kidnapped. Photo: gofundme.com

Rita Maze, 47, called her husband from the boot of her stolen car after being abducted from a rest stop on a highway.

She spoke with her family and police for about 10 minutes, but did not know where she was, the local sheriff said.

Her body was found 523km away near Spokane airport on the Washington state border.

Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said Mrs Maze had called her husband using a mobile phone on Tuesday, and said that she had been hit on the head near Wolf Creek, north of Helena.

Her husband reported her as missing, and remained in contact with his wife.

Rochelle Maze, the victim's daughter, told the Great Falls Tribune that her mother was hysterical and difficult to understand when they spoke.

"I told her that I loved her," Rochelle said. "That's the last thing she heard."

The intermittent phone signal was cut off after about 10 minutes.

Sheriff Dutton said a police officer had spoken to Mrs Maze before her death.

Her body was discovered early on Wednesday, after police used her phone's signal to help track the vehicle.

Her licence plate was also captured on camera near Post Falls in the state of Idaho.

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

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation is also involved in the investigation, because the death involved travel across a number of US states.