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Missing Tennessee Mother Found Dead In Car Trunk After Police Chase, Shootout In Michigan

Dominique Hardwick, the girlfriend of victim Eleni Kassa, is believed to have killed herself after crashing her vehicle during a police chase in Michigan, as authorities say the couple had a history of domestic violence.

By Caitlin Schunn
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A months-long history of domestic violence ended in the death of a missing Tennessee mother and her girlfriend, punctuated by a police chase, crash and shootout in Michigan.

Eleni Kassa was found dead in the trunk of a car in Dearborn, Michigan on Sunday, according to the Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Police Department. Michigan State police are still investigating the cause of her death, but say Kassa’s body had “trauma that was not a result from the crash.” Her girlfriend, Dominique Hardwick, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Michigan State police.

Kassa was first reported missing in Murfreesboro, Tennessee by her family members on Nov. 18, one day after she didn’t pick up her daughter from school. Police searched for the 31-year-old for more than a week—including using K9s to search a local creek.

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Murfreesboro police now believe there was a fight between Kassa and Hardwick during an argument at Kassa’s apartment, and Kassa’s cell phone and car were left behind. Police tracked Hardwick’s black Dodge Charger, and got a license plate hit for it just outside of Detroit, Michigan. When officers tried to stop Hardwick, she crashed and shots were fired, authorities said. State police are still interviewing a 34-year-old woman who was in the car at the time of the crash, and investigating if any charges will be filed. That woman, who has not been identified, was hospitalized after the crash, state police said.

A police handout of Eleni Kassa

This wasn’t the first domestic violence incident between Kassa and Hardwick. Hardwick was arrested for domestic and aggravated assault on the night of Aug. 27, after Hardwick told police the two got into an argument when Hardwick received texts from another woman on her phone. In a police report obtained by Oxygen.com, Kassa told officers Hardwick grabbed her by the neck and pushed her against the wall, making it difficult for her to breathe. Medics told Kassa she might have a broken jaw, according to the police report.

A police handout of Dominique Hardwick

Murfreesboro police records also show Hardwick asked for officers to escort her to Kassa’s apartment to get her belongings on Aug. 29. Murfreesboro police said a Rutherford County judge issued a no contact order after this arrest, but both women eventually went back before a judge and asked for a peaceful contact order.

GoFundMe account, which was originally created to help raise money to find Kassa, will now be used to care for her daughter.

Michigan State police will release more information in the investigation on their Twitter account as it’s available.