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Missing Tenn. Mom Found Dead in Girlfriend's Trunk After Crash, Shootout in Detroit Suburb

People 11/30/2022 Laura Barcella

Murfreesboro TN Police Department © Provided by People Murfreesboro TN Police Department

A missing mother from Tennessee was found dead in the trunk of her girlfriend's car after it crashed in a Detroit suburb during a police chase. Her girlfriend then took her own life.

31-year-old Eleni Kassa was reported missing from Murfreesboro, Tenn., on Nov. 18 after failing to pick up her young daughter from school, according to a release issued by Murfreesboro officials.

On Nov. 27, Kassa was found dead in the trunk of a car in Dearborn, Mich., that was driven by her girlfriend, 36-year-old Dominique Hardwick.

Authorities were able to track Hardwick's Dodge to Michigan using license plate readers. After officials closed in on the vehicle and shots were fired, Hardwick fatally shot herself in the head, the Michigan State Police said in a statement on Twitter.

According to the statement, Kassa appeared "to have trauma that was not a result from the crash."

Dominique Hardwick © Provided by People Dominique Hardwick

Hardwick also crashed her car into a building during the police chase, and an unidentified 34-year-old woman was removed from the passenger seat and taken to a hospital for treatment for her injuries. The passenger's current condition or relation to Hardwick is unknown.

The initial missing-person investigation for Kassa revealed that "a possible domestic violence incident" had occurred before the couple left in Hardwick's car in mid-November. They had allegedly argued at Kassa's Murfreesboro apartment before leaving the home, according to the Nov. 28 statement from Tennessee officials. Kassa's cell phone was left behind.

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Hardwick had allegedly attacked Kassa before, Fox2Detroit reports.

A police report from an August incident between the women says Hardwick "pushed Kassa and struck her in the face with her hand." The altercation ensued from "Hardwick receiving a text message from another woman," the report says.

Hardwick also grabbed Kassa by the neck and broke her jaw, according to EMS on the scene. Kassa said she had trouble breathing after the fight.

Hardwick was charged with one count of aggravated domestic assault in the August altercation.

Authorities in both states appear to be working on the current investigation into Kassa's death. "The circumstances surrounding Eleni's death have not been determined," the Michigan MSP wrote on Twitter. "Detectives are still interviewing witnesses, including the front seat passenger in the crash."

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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