Missing Tennessee Mom Found Dead in a Car Trunk After Police Shootout

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A woman shot herself after a shootout with police, who found the body of her friend in her trunk.

Dominique Hardwick, 36, had been traveling in her car from Tennessee, with an unidentified passenger, while transporting a missing woman, Eleni Kassa, 31, deceased in her car trunk. 

The police had been tracking the car since it left in Tennessee, and finally caught up with it in Michigan, where the car crashed, and the shootout broke out between the officers and Hardwick, who shot herself during the confrontation. 

Eleni Kassa was reported missing by her family from her Murfreesboro, Tennessee home on November 18. They said she failed to pick up her daughter from school, according to a statement released by the Murfreesboro Police Department. The concerned family called the police. 

Police found Kassa on November 27, dead in the trunk of a car her girlfriend, Dominique Hardwick, 36, in Dearborn, Michigan.

The shootout occurred when Hardwick’s Dodge Charger crashed into a house, and as police officers tried to approach it, she began shooting at the officers. Hardwick’s autopsy confirmed that she died from the self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Hardwick was driving with another woman in the car. Police said they found a 34-year-old woman in the passenger seat. She was brought to a hospital to get care for her injuries in the crash. Police said they were interviewing her, but did not give any follow-up about her relationship with the driver.

The police investigation revealed that there may have been an incident of domestic violence between Hardwick and Kassa before the two traveled in mid-November. Tennessee law enforcement filed a statement on November 28, after police found Kassa’s body, saying that the two women had allegedly argued in Kassa’s apartment before they left the house.

Kassa left her mobile phone in the house.

Authorities also said there was evidence of previous domestic violence between in the couple’s home, and that the police had responded to an incident in August, involving fighting due to jealousy. The statement said Hardwick broke Kassa’s jaw in the August incident. Hardwick was arrested at the time and charged with aggravated domestic assault.

It is not clear whether Kassa was already dead when the couple left Tennessee, or if she was killed along the way. Police from both Tennessee and Michigan are investigating her death. 

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