FREWEINI "WINNIE" GEBREMICAEL, 34
In 1991 Freweini "Winnie" Gebremicael left war-torn East Africa for America and the chance to provide a better future for her children. She settled in middle Tennessee, where she worked a series of grueling jobs at a flooring company, a plastic factory, and a hotel. By 2005, Winnie had saved enough money to become her own boss. She opened The City Coffee Shop on 2nd Avenue in downtown Nashville. Friends from Nashville's music scene made her shop one of the city's most popular hangouts for up-and-coming musicians. But Winnie's American dream was about to turn into a nightmare. The last time anyone saw Winnie alive was when she dropped her oldest child, 17-year-old Rutta, off at school on the morning of May 5, 2006. After that she was thought to be heading to The City Coffee Shop. Winnie was reported missing later that day. On May 7, 2006, her body was found among the trash and underbrush on the bank of a creek along Whitsett Road. She'd been shot once in the head, then her body had been set on fire.
Police say it's possible Winnie made it to The City Coffee Shop the morning she disappeared; equipment at the shop had been turned on, although police say it's possible it had been left on from the previous night.
Winnie's body was found about 1/10 of a mile from the apartment complex where she lived.
Winnie's car was found abandoned about a half mile up the road from where her body was found. Police say there was nothing to indicate the car was stolen; Winnie's personal items were still inside.
Police say Winnie was shot in a different location than where her body was found.
Police have DNA evidence indicating a female was involved in Winnie's murder.
Police say it's likely the killer knew Winnie. They also say the killer may have lived in the area where Winnie's body was found, or at least was familiar with the area.
You Can Help
Metro Nashville Police Department: (615) 862-8600
Metro Nashville South Precinct/Detective Brad Corcoran: (615) 862-7680