Tow Truck Driver Found Body Months Later
By Dan Gesslein
September 28, 2023
QUEENS - An upstate man was sentenced to 22 years in prison for killing the mother of his two children and stuffing her body in the trunk of his car which he abandoned in Queens. Prosecutors said the victim’s body was found in the trunk by a tow truck driver months after the mother had gone missing.
Kareem Flake was sentenced to 22 years in prison after pleading guilty to first degree manslaughter in July. Destini Smothers, 26, was shot to death and stuffed in the trunk of Flake’s car which was left on the street for four months.
Flake had gone missing the day after celebrating her birthday.
“The depravity of this man’s actions left Destini Smothers’ family to agonize for months about her whereabouts and her two young children to grow up without a mother,” said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. “I hope this sentence will afford some peace to Destini’s loved ones.”
Prosecutors said Smothers was last seen in a car with Flake after celebrating her birthday at a bowling alley in Woodside, Queens on November 3, 2020. Days later the mother of two was reported missing to police.
For the next four months friends and family were left trying to find out what happened to Smothers with little information about how she disappeared.
On March 10, 2021, a tow truck driver was tasked with towing an abandoned Toyota Camry at the intersection of 134th Avenue and 151st Place, on a tree-lined street next to Baisley Pond Playground in Springfield Gardens. The tow truck driver noticed a flat tire on the car and was going to put the spare on the vehicle in order to tow it.
When the driver opened the trunk to find the spare he found Smothers’s decomposing remains.
Investigators would later determine that Smothers’ body was found inside Flake’s Camry.
An investigation by the Medical Examiner’s Office determined that Smothers was killed by a single gunshot wound to the head.
Flake was arrested on April 9, 2022, in Osceola County, Florida, and later extradited to New York.