An upstate New York woman found dead in the trunk of a car in Queens this week died from a blow to the head that fractured her skull and caused a brain injury, the New York Daily News reports.
Destini Smothers, 26, had been missing since November when she came to New York to attend a funeral and vanished after attending her birthday party at a bowling alley, two days before the memorial service, CrimeOnline previously reported.
According to the Daily News, the New York medical examiner ruled the death a homicide after determining the cause of death.
Smothers came to Queens four months ago to attend the funeral of her boyfriend’s grandmother. She was last seen leaving the bowling alley with the boyfriend, identified as Kareem Flake.
Flake reportedly told her relatives that they had gotten in an argument while in Smothers’ Toyota Camry after the birthday party. The boyfriend allegedly claimed that at some point, Smothers exited the vehicle without taking her keys, purse, wallet, and identification.
Smothers’ family said Smothers did drive a Toyota Camry, but the one where her body was found — which had no plates — belonged to Flake. Police have not confirmed ownership of the vehicle or said whether they consider him a person of interest in the case.
Residents of the Queens neighborhood where the car was found said it had been sitting on the street for about two months before residents began calling 311 to have it towed last week. The body was found by the tow truck driver, who noticed a problem with one of the car’s tires and popped the trunk looking for a spare.
Flake was missing from a vigil for Smothers organized by friends and family this week, but family members said he participated in a Zoom call with the couple’s 9- and 3-year-old sons.
“When they asked about their mother, he said, ‘They are putting things in your head,’ and hung up on them,” Smothers’ cousin, Latima Fowler, told the Daily News.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Listen to the latest episode:
[Featured image: Destini Smothers/Facebook]