In a news release, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced a judge sentenced Kareem Flake to 22 years for killing 26-year-old Destini Smothers in November 2020. Judge Michael Aloise added five years of post-release supervision to the sentencing as well. Flake pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in July.
According to the District Attorney's Office, Smothers was last seen alive Nov. 3, 2020. She was reportedly in Flake's car after having a birthday party at a bowling alley in Woodside, a neighborhood in Queens. She was reported missing five days later.
Then, on March 10, 2021, a tow truck moved an abandoned Toyota Camry at 134th Avenue and 151st Place and reportedly noticed a flat tire on the vehicle. The tow operator looked in the trunk for a spare and instead found decomposing human remains. He contacted police, who learned the car belonged to Flake.
The remains were later positively identified as Smothers. The New York City medical examiner determined she died from a gunshot wound to the head.
Officials arrested Flake in Osceola County, Florida, and extradited him to New York.
Katz said following the sentencing, "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. I hope this sentence will afford some peace to Destini’s loved ones."