'Heartbroken, sad:' Police say Eleni Kassa was a victim of domestic violence

eleni Kassa.jpg
Posted at 4:52 PM, Nov 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-29 19:26:56-05

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — In this heartbreaking case, missing mother Eleni Kassa was found dead in a trunk more than 500 miles from home.

Kassa was reported missing from Murfreesboro on November 18.

"Heartbroken, sad — and it's so hard to watch and see anyone lose their life, but especially in a domestic violence situation," said Ericka Downing of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center in Murfreesboro.

Downing said she sees cases like Kassa's all too often.

Murfreesboro police think there was some sort of domestic violence incident between Kassa and her girlfriend, Dominique Hardwick, following an argument at Kassa's apartment.

"We're praying for the family. I'm praying for their peace as they walk through this tragic loss," Downing said.

Eleni's family reported her missing after she didn't pick up her daughter from school. She left her cell phone and Dodge Charger at her apartment.

But her car was spotted by police in Ohio and Michigan, with the use of license plate readers.

Officers in Dearborn, Michigan tried to stop the car on Sunday afternoon. Hardwick was driving, and another woman was in the passenger seat.

Hardwick refused to stop, but eventually crashed the car and fired on police before shooting herself.

Kassa was later discovered dead in the trunk.

Police in Murfreesboro said there was another incident back in August — Hardwick was arrested after an argument turned physical.

"I hope that this brings a spotlight and awareness to the fact that domestic violence does exist. They can end a tragedy, but there are agencies like myself and other agencies across the state of Tennessee that are here to help," said Downing.

The circumstances surrounding Kassa's death have not been determined.

Detectives are still interviewing witnesses, including the front-seat passenger in the crash.

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