Prominent criminologist Greg Newbold says the bound and gagged woman who jumped from a moving car would have believed her life was in immediate danger.
The Canterbury University lecturer said the Asian woman, believed to be aged 35 to 55, most probably knew what was going to happen to her and her actions show her desperation to live.
About 7pm yesterday the boot of a silver sedan was forced open from the inside by an unknown woman, who was bound by her neck, legs and arms. She hurled herself out of the moving vehicle.
Professor Newbold, who has inside knowledge of the New Zealand criminal underworld, said the woman would have believed she was "going to be killed".
He deemed the case to be "unusual" but not uncommon for the country, adding there had been recent abduction cases involving Asian women.
Professor Newbold said: "There are three possibilities - drugs, domestic abuse or a kidnapping/ransom abduction.
"The fact that she fought to escape from the boot of a moving car tells me that she probably knew where she was going and what was going to happen to her," he said.
"Whoever did this must have been desperate because the chance of getting caught is very high ... This isn't the first case like this to happen but it is unusual."
He knew of two cases in Christchurch where an Asian woman had been abducted.
"One was a sex worker who was taken to a field, sexually assaulted and strangled but somehow survived.
"The other was a domestic case, where the woman was taken from the street by her partner, who was a gang member."
In this case, Professor Newbold said it could have been a kidnapping or a ransom where someone hasn't met the demand, but he added: "At this point we simply don't know."
Police had "a good chance" of solving the crime, he said, because the woman had survived.