Destini Smothers: A Timeline from Disappearance in Troy, New York to Justice
In the cold month of November 2020, a 26-year-old mother of two from Troy, New York, Destini Smothers, took a trip to Queens not knowing it would be her last. Her sudden disappearance after a night out celebrating her birthday became a subject of intense scrutiny, anguish, and tireless efforts by her family to bring her home.
Destini had journeyed to Queens for a funeral and had decided to celebrate her birthday while in the city. On the evening of November 3, 2020, she was last seen with friends at Bowlero, a popular bowling alley in Queens. Reports suggest that she left the venue with her long-time boyfriend, Kareem Flake, the father of her children.
Flake recounted to the family that an argument ensued between the two while they were in Destini’s 2011 black Toyota Camry Hybrid. He alleged that during this disagreement, which occurred on the Grand Central Parkway, Destini exited the vehicle, leaving behind essentials such as her purse, wallet, and ID. Her family quickly flagged this behavior as uncharacteristic of Destini.
“It’s out of character for her to just abandon her belongings and walk away, especially at night,” stated Destini’s distraught aunt, Shareen King.
The subsequent 27 days following her disappearance were a whirlwind of emotion and desperation. Destini’s family reached out to various law enforcement agencies, grappling with procedural challenges that included being redirected from one police department to another.
Shareen lamented the valuable time lost, stating, “Precious time was wasted. Time that could have been spent to find my niece.”
However, the search culminated in a tragic discovery in March 2021. Destini’s body was found in the trunk of a Toyota Camry without license plates. A gunshot wound to the head was identified as the cause of death, with the Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz confirming the case as a homicide.
Pursuit of Justice
A year later, in April 2022, the threads of the investigation led to the arrest of Kareem Flake in Florida. After extradition to New York, he was slapped with charges including second-degree murder, kidnapping, weapon possession, and tampering with evidence.
In a surprising turn of events, in July 2023, Flake pleaded guilty to a first-degree manslaughter charge. The plea deal indicates that he will face a 22-year prison sentence this September.
Throughout this tumultuous journey, Destini’s family and community have remained dedicated to her memory. As the legal proceedings draw to a close, they have focused their efforts on raising awareness about such tragic incidents. A rally was organized last December at Bowlero, with the aim to ensure that similar cases receive the necessary attention and resources.
The case remains a stark reminder of the untold stories of many missing persons and the tireless fight of families seeking justice.
For anyone with additional information, please reach out to NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS or visit WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM.