SOUTH OZONE PARK, Queens — The body of a woman was found in the trunk of a vehicle in Queens Wednesday morning, police said.
Investigators believe the woman is 26-year-old Destini Smothers, from Troy, New York, which is near Albany. Smothers was last seen in Far Rockaway, Queens, and reported missing in November 2020, police said. She lived in Troy with her boyfriend.
Her body was discovered around 9:50 a.m. when a tow truck driver attempted to remove the vehicle, a black Toyota, on Lefferts Boulevard in South Ozone Park, according to the NYPD.
Family members of Smothers broke down at the scene. They’ve been desperately searching for her since November. She disappeared after a night out for her birthday at an Astoria bowling alley. Her boyfriend had said the two got in a fight when she walked out of his car without any of her belongings.
They say the discovery further substantiates their belief that Destini’s boyfriend was up to something, as he had been driving the car that was found.
“He had some involvement, that was the car he was driving,” said cousin Tina Fowler, who said that the boyfriend had even identified where Smothers left his car on a previous trip to Queens. “The car went missing, she went missing. It points to him.”
Video showed a vehicle on top of a tow truck bed, surrounded by police tape, Wednesday morning. The vehicle was experiencing mechanical difficulty, prompting the operator to open the truck in search of a spare tire. That’s when Smothers’ body was found.
Police have yet to determine the owner of the vehicle but Fowler and other family members are sending a message to Destini’s boyfriend, who her family says they haven’t heard from since that prior trip to Queens.
“What’s done in the dark comes to light,” Fowler said.
Police said the investigation was ongoing.
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
Correction: A previous version of this story featured an image of a car that was not the vehicle in which the body was found.