NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A body was found in the trunk of an abandoned vehicle in Queens on Wednesday morning.
The NYPD said it’s likely a 26-year-old woman who went missing in November after celebrating her birthday in Astoria, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported.
For months, the family of Destini Smothers searched for clues from Queens to the Albany area, where she is from.
Police spent the morning and afternoon at the corner of 150th Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard in South Ozone Park investigating the vehicle. The towing led to some closure for the family of Smothers, who hails from the upstate city of Troy .
Police said the tow truck driver hitching the black vehicle opened the trunk to see if there was a spare to replace a flat tire. Instead, he found a deceased woman, who police believe is Smothers.
Heartbroken family members consoled each other after hearing the news.
“She was a loving person. She didn’t deserve this, you know? We searched, we searched, we searched,” cousin Johann Daily said. “I know police have a lot of job to do, but I felt like her life could have been taken more seriously. We’ve been getting the runaround for months.”
Back in the fall, Smothers family told CBS2 she was last seen Nov. 3, celebrating her birthday at a bowling alley in Woodside. Relatives said she left with her boyfriend, but the two got into an argument on the Grand Central Parkway and she jumped out.
They said she had done that before, and the boyfriend usually picked her up.
The family said the car that was towed Wednesday was his.
“That was his car. That was the car he was driving. The car went missing. She went missing. So, it all leads and points to him,” cousin Tima Fowler said. “I don’t understand how he did that. But he did it. And we found the car, the car is found now. She’s found and he’s still missing.”
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“We knew we was going to find her. I just didn’t think we were going to find her like this. Somebody is going to have to pay,” Daily said. “She’s a fighter. She fought.”
The family said Smothers left behind two children she had with the boyfriend.
Police did not say if the boyfriend is a person of interest.
Investigators say the car was abandoned. A neighbor told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes off camera it was there for about two months before they started contacting 311 last week to have it towed.
“People are now leaving their cars and going to the airport and going on trips and vacations, and they come back months later,” one neighbor said.
Relatives just hope police quickly make an arrest.
“What’s done in the dark comes to light. You will be found in court, and we will get justice f or her,” Fowler said.
The medical examiner will determine the cause of the woman’s death.