Rita Maze, 47, of Great Falls, Montana, was found dead in the trunk of her Grand Prix, which was parked near Spokane International Airport in Washington.
The discovery was made just after midnight on Sept. 7, reports the Daily Mail.
Maze, who left home the previous day to visit family members some 100 miles south in Helena, Montana, had already been reported by her family as missing.
They filed the missing person report after she allegedly called them from the trunk of her car, claiming to have been abducted by “a large man in a black hoodie,” reports The Washington Post.
There is no apparent motive, according to authorities, who said it could have been a random attack on a woman making a routine road trip.
However, after the Spokane County Medical Examiner's Office refused to rule her death a homicide, the sheriff's office is not ruling out the possibility that Maze may have committed suicide, reports the Daily Mail.
Police found her body in the trunk, with the keys still in the ignition, and a purse was lying in the front seat with a $20 bill nearby. They also found blood on the ground. The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office said Maze was killed by a single gunshot to the chest/abdomen.
Maze’s family rejects the theory that she committed suicide. “I believe she was abducted,” said her daughter, Rochelle. “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.”
The FBI, which is involved in the case because the car crossed state lines, initially said it was investigating a “person of interest," but on Sept. 8, the agency said it was no longer seeking a suspect.