13-year-old DNA under woman’s fingernails may solve one of Nashville’s most gruesome murders

Special Reports

Metro police are releasing new details in a cold case, which lead to at least two arrests.  

Thirty-four-year-old Freweini Gebremicael was killed 13 years ago. 

It was one of Nashville’s most gruesome murders, but few ever heard about the South Nashville mother of two, who was shot and set on fire. 

“I think about her daily, but especially during those hard times. I wish she was still here. I know life would be different,” said her daughter Rutta Simon.  

The now 30-year-old was only 17 when her mom disappeared. Gebremicael dropped her daughter off at school on May 4, 2006. She was then supposed to open up her coffee shop downtown.  

City Coffee Shop was on Second Avenue North inside Market Street Emporium, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Broadway. The shop is now gone and a bar and short-term rentals are in its place. 

“We know she never made it to the shop that morning,” said Detective Charles Robinson, with the Metro Police Cold Case Unit. 

Robinson showed the files connected to the Gebremicael case for the first time for this story.  

The day after she disappeared, Gebremicael’s car was found near her home. 

“They left all her items inside her vehicle, including the keys, purse, wallet,” said Det. Robinson. “So, that indicates to me that this was a crime of passion.” 

Three days after she was last seen, a homeowner called 911 to report a fire on Whitsett Road near a creek. A body wrapped in a carpet had been set on fire. 

A medical examiner later determined it was Gebremicael. She had been shot in the forehead and set on fire. 

Robinson believes Gebremicael knew her killers.  

DNA of a man and woman was found under her fingernails. So far, there hasn’t been a match. 

Robinson is in the process of retesting the DNA and is collecting more from people she may have known. 

Simon has been pleading for justice since she was 17. While she knows it won’t replace her mom, she wants justice all the same. 

“She was not only my mom, she was also my best friend,” she told News 2. “Only person I trusted, who always believed in me. But I know she’s with me.” 

If you have information that can help solve this case, call Det. Robinson at 615-880-2918

All day Thursday, News 2 is investigating local cold cases. We’ll have special reports on the homicides that have remained unsolved for years in every newscast.  Click here to read more cold case stories

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