Missing Murfreesboro woman found dead in trunk after chase, police shootout in Michigan

Eleni Kassa
Eleni Kassa

Note: This story contains details about suicide. If you or someone you know may be struggling with self-harm or suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time day or night, or chat online. Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7 and confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they dial 741741.

This story also involves details of domestic violence. If you need assistance, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

Michigan State Police confirmed the body of a woman found dead in the trunk of a car in Dearborn, Michigan, on Sunday was missing Murfreesboro woman Eleni Kassa.

Kassa's body was discovered after a police chase, crash and shootout with officers, according to the Murfreesboro Police Department.

Kassa, 31, was reported missing by her family on Nov. 18, one day after she failed to pick up her daughter from school.

Police said Kassa's girlfriend, Dominique Hardwick, 36, was driving the black Dodge Charger in the chase. An autopsy revealed Hardwick died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Michigan State Police.

Another passenger, a 34-year-old woman police did not identify, was riding in the front seat and was injured. She was hospitalized and is being questioned by authorities.

A 9mm Glock pistol was recovered from the Charger. Michigan State Police said said they're working with Murfreesboro police detectives to gather further evidence, execute search warrants and interview witnesses.

The circumstances of Kassa's death have not yet been determined, officials said.

"We will continue to update this investigation as new information develops," Michigan State Police tweeted on Monday. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Eleni’s family and the community of Murfreesboro."

How the case, pursuit and police shootout unfolded

Murfreesboro police conducted an extensive investigation and search after Kassa was reported missing, according to a police department news release. Investigators believed Kassa and Hardwick fled Kassa's apartment after an argument and a possible domestic violence incident.

Kassa's cell phone and car were both left behind, the release said.

MPD conducted interviews with family, friends and witnesses and also carried out two K9 searches, including one at a creek near the apartment. Police also executed several search warrants, including one for a home in Lebanon, Tennessee, where they believe Hardwick was staying.

Police tracked the Charger they believe Hardwick and Kassa were driving through Ohio. A license plate reader later picked it up in Oakland County, Michigan, which is near Detroit.

The Charger fled after Dearborn Police Department officers attempted to stop it around 2 p.m. Sunday. The car then crashed and a shootout with the officers ensued.

Michigan State Police and the Murfreesboro Police Department are investigating. Michigan State Police updates on the case can be found on Twitter at twitter.com/MSPmetrodet.

This article originally appeared on Murfreesboro Daily News Journal: Eleni Kassa: missing Mufreesboro woman found dead in trunk in Michigan