7 Things To Know About Destini Smothers, The Mother Whose Body Was Found In The Trunk Of Her Car
“I called the detective and every time it’s, ‘Oh, he’s not in.’ I need to know where you’re at with this case, because it’s my daughter,” Smothers' mom said.
September 22, 2021 at 2:28 pm
Loretta King is still pleading with investigators and desperately searching for answers after her daughter, Destini Smothers, was found dead in the trunk of an abandoned car in Queens, New York, four months ago. According to the Daily News, the grieving mother said the New York Police Department hasn't provided much more information since the body was found.
Here are seven things to know about Smothers' case.
1. There are a few details known about the incident
Police declined to release specific details of the case to reporters. However, the NYPD said the investigation is active and no arrests have been made. King said the only update she heard is when police reported that Smothers was hit by a bullet to the head.
“I called the detective and every time it’s, ‘Oh, he’s not in.’ I need to know where you’re at with this case, because it’s my daughter,” King said.
It was initially believed that the mother of two died from a bullet to the head that cracked her skull. Officers have also confirmed that Smothers' body was decomposing when it was found in the trunk.
Police told the grieving mother that her daughter didn't suffer much before she died.
“That don’t ease my pain,” King said. “It was like I found out my daughter was killed for the first time all over again. I had to relive that trauma.”
Help me understand. Brian Laundrie is being hunted down. Yet the murderer of Destini Smothers still roams free. She went missing 4 months before her body was found. Went out one night with boyfriend and he came home w/o her. Sound familiar? Yet no manhunt. https://t.co/1UDpXXKq8Z— Anne (@BalloonStrings) September 21, 2021
2. Smothers was expected at the funeral of her boyfriend's grandmother
Smothers celebrated her 26th birthday on Nov. 3 in Woodside, Queens, joined by friends and her boyfriend, Kareem Flake. The couple was expected to attend the funeral of Flake’s grandmother the next day. While Smothers didn't show up to the funeral, her boyfriend arrived in a relative’s car.
King, who was also worried when her daughter didn't show up for the shopping trip they planned before the funeral, called Flake.
“I called his [Flake’s] phone and I said, ‘Where your other half at?’” the devastated mother said. “He said, ‘Oh, she jumped out of the car mad because she wanted to hang with her friends.’”
But King never believed that her daughter would be the type of person who would act so irrationally.
“I know my daughter,” she said. “My daughter and I are closer than close. It didn’t sit right with me.”
She also knew that Smothers had been very close with Flake's grandmother and she was intent on attending the funeral.
“I know she wouldn’t have missed that funeral,” King said.
3. A tow truck driver found the body
The young woman's loved ones desperately searched the town for four months. Their search came to an end after a tow truck operator was called to remove an abandoned Toyota with no plates on March 10, NBC New York reports.
The tow truck operator picked up the car near the home of Flake's cousin, who attended Smothers' birthday celebration. After picking up the car, the truck driver drove for a few miles and realized that the abandoned vehicle had a flat tire. He then popped the trunk to look for a spare and found Smothers’ body inside.
“It was shocking, it was my worst fear. That’s why I called. It’s unacceptable,” Ragland said after hearing about the body found in the vehicle, according to the New York Daily News. “I have cameras now. I wish I would have had them up then.”
4. Family members haven't heard from Flake for months
Flake's relatives haven't heard from him since the funeral.
“I don’t know what happened, why it happened or anything. He disappeared, I don’t know why,” a family member said. “If he did it, that’s what he deserves, he’s gotta pay it off. If he didn’t do it, well, he’s gonna get his name cleared.”
5. The couple had a troubled relationship
Flake and Smothers were together for 13 years, but their relationship involved a history of domestic violence.
“My grandson told detectives that a few times he heard his father say he was going to kill his mother,” King said. “He tells me stories.”
Smothers' family showed more concern about Flake in recent months, saying he didn't seem to care when his girlfriend went missing.
“You think he’d show some concern, like, 'My baby is missing!' No, nothing,” Latima Fowler, a cousin of Smothers, said. “When they found her [dead], he never reached out to us.”
6. Advocates say Smothers needs the same attention as missing white women
The New York woman is getting support from advocates who want her story to get the same attention as other missing white women.
Gabby Petito was a victim of a nightmarish crime and every crime toward a woman should be taken seriously, but "Missing White Woman Syndrome" is real. Where is the mad panic for Destini Smothers or Lauren Cho? POC women go missing every day without a batted eyelash... pic.twitter.com/N9NgjSnyYc— 🏳️🌈♿The Science™♿🏳️🌈 (@Marxtopoid) September 22, 2021
The differences between how missing cases are covered in regards to race are flagrantly obvious. The entire nation knows the story of Gabby Petito. Her remains were found. I wonder how much anguish the family of Destini Smothers would have been spared ifher remains hadbeen found. https://t.co/jr5BfuKXlW pic.twitter.com/7JPPxawePE— ♍Mr. Ol Skool♍ (@SirOlSkool) September 21, 2021
7. Smothers is remembered as a sweet soul
Flake's relative said Smothers was a sweet, sensitive girl.
“That was like my little sister/niece,” the relative said. “It broke my heart. When I seen that on the news, I said, ‘No, this is not her.’ And they said that was her. I started crying hard. It’s messed up.”
Smothers’ family remembers their loved one as a bubbly mother of two. The family often visits a memorial they have set up for the young woman at the site where her body was found.
“They come all the time, they just sit there,” Ragland said. “It’s very peaceful, quiet. They’re just there, they just miss her. They’re completely heartbroken.”