By Carol Tannenhauser
Since last fall, we have been following the story of Drexyll Tolstoy, a 26-year-old tattoo artist who never came home from work to his apartment on West 107th Street on the evening of September 25, 2022, and had been missing every since.
Drexyll’s mother, Kellie Tolstoy, a Gulf War veteran from Detroit, Michigan, started a GoFundMe campaign in December to raise money to travel to New York City with a group of Drexyll’s friends and family, to search for him. The police had proven disappointing. “They have no leads,” Kellie wrote at the time. “The NYPD has thousands of missing people reported every year, and as a result they focus on children and vulnerable seniors (understandably). Our team of eight, split into three groups, and was able to cover so much ground! We were able to canvass hundreds of blocks, and speak with hundreds of people. We learn a little more every time we go…we are not giving up.”
Last week, she had no choice. “I’m sorry, everyone,” Kellie wrote on Friday in a GoFundMe update tinged with grief and anger. “Drexyll’s body was found a few days ago. They had to use dental records to identify my son. He was found behind his work building. A high-ranking police [official] said to me on the day it was confirmed that it WAS my son’s body: “why are you asking all these questions, you know it won’t bring your son back,” and told me not to call them anymore. No parent should be talked to the way they do at NYPD missing persons, and it shouldn’t take SIX MONTHS TO FIND SOMEONE [ONLY] HUNDREDS OF FEET AWAY FROM WHERE THEY DISAPPEARED.”
An NYPD spokesperson answered our inquiry saying that on Monday, April 6, at approximately 11:54 am, in the rear of 39 West 32nd Street, the address of the Black Fish tattoo parlor where Drexyll worked, “there was a report for an ‘Investigate DOA” on file within the confines of the Midtown South Precinct. The individual has not been identified at this time and the investigation is ongoing.”
We offer condolences to the Tolstoy family and friends, and wish Drexyll peace.