Mysterious death of Ethiopian homeless man remains unsolved

Zenebech Injera is one the highest-rated Ethiopian restaurants in the District, an unassuming carryout serving up spicy dishes from its storefront on T Street Northwest in the Shaw neighborhood. It was outside this local hot spot that the body of Anteneh Getnet Amare was found 2 1/2 years ago. Police have had few leads in the case.

There was a misty rain the day that Zenebech employee Hiruy Mengtistu went to clean the front window and spotted Amare’s body. It was May 12, 2008, around 4 p.m.; Mengtistu quickly called police.

The body of Amare, who police say was 21 years old when he died, was on the ground, practically unscathed.

anteneh-getnet
Anteneh Getnet Amare

“Actually it was pretty hard to determine how he died,” lead D.C. Detective Wayne Marable said. “If you looked at him, you saw virtually nothing.”

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There was a small laceration under Amare’s lip, indicating he might have died from a single punch. Amare may have fallen back from the punch, hitting his head on the cement sidewalk.

Amare was an unemployed Ethiopian immigrant who was quasihomeless, spending nights in shelters and abandoned cars and on friends’ couches.

“If he was punched, I’m sure it was by one of his friends,” Marable said.

No restaurant employee or passersby saw or heard anything. Despite the lack of witnesses, Marable said police still believe the murder happened in front of the restaurant.

“A lifeless body is very heavy,” Marable said. “No one would go through the trouble to move it in broad daylight.”

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Mengtistu’s brother Surafel Demssie, who also works at Zenebech, said he had seen Amare around a few times, but he was more familiar with Amare’s father.

Police have been in touch with Amare’s father and are now looking for friends who might have information on Amare’s death.

Police are offering up to $25,000 for information leading to an arrest or conviction in the case. If you have information, call Marable at 202-645-6362, Detective John Bevilacqua at 202-645-9600 or the Command Information Center at 202-727-9099. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call 1-888-919-CRIME.

[gview file=”http://mpdc.dc.gov/mpdc/lib/mpdc/serv/solvers/unsolved/pdf/2008/amare_anteneh_ENG_AMH.pdf”]

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