A mother's murder case remains cold after 16 years

The murder of Freweini Gebremicael
The murder of Freweini Gebremicael.jpg
Posted at 4:01 PM, May 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-08 18:57:06-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — The last 16 Mother's Days haven't been the same for Freweini Gebremicael's two children.

Gebremicael was murdered in May of 2006 at 34 years old, and now her family is pleading for closure.

The body of Freweini “Winnie” Gebremicael was found burned on May 7, 2006 in a creek near the side of the road. She was also shot in the head.

Her car was found a mile away on Foster Avenue, abandoned in front of Duke Body Shop.

Her family reported her missing on May 5 when she didn't come in to work.

She owned and operated The City Coffee Shop in the Market Street Emporium on Second Avenue. The coffee shop had been open only for a year when Winnie was killed.

"My mom was an awesome person, very outgoing, kind of bubbly personality; always liked to dance, sing, and she loved coffee," said Rutta Simon.

Time has passed — 16 years, to be exact — but talking about her mother in past tense is still a struggle for Simon.

"It hurts. I think about it, I think about my mom every day, each and every day," she said.

This Mother's Day falls one day after the anniversary of Gebremicael's murder.

Simon said her mother left East Africa with her children and settled in Nashville as a refugee. She became a U.S. Citizen in 2001.

They were living the American Dream until it turned into a living nightmare.

"She didn't deserve any of it. So, she was a good person. I can't understand why somebody would want to hurt her," Simon said.

Gebremicael was last seen alive when she dropped Simon off at school on May 5. Her family reported her missing later that day.

The family believes someone has information that can help close Winnie's case.

They're pleading for anyone who can help to come forward.

"I know we can't bring her back, but at least we can get some justice. And some closure to what happened, and who did it and why," said Simon.

There is an $11,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in Gebremicael's murder.

Detectives are requesting to speak to anyone that may have information at 615-862-7329.