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.
So sorry. What is wrong with police that they are so heartless??????
So much love to you ❤️
Your side, my side and somewhere in the middle lies the truth.
unless there’s more information, this is unforgivable policing
How terribly sad. Was hoping and praying for a different outcome.
*RIP* Drexyll Tolstoy.
My condolences to the Tolstoy family and friends of deceased.
Out deepest condolences to Drexyll’s family and friends.The officer’s remarks do not represent the heart of the City. We share your sadness and wish you comfort.
How terribly sad.
Horrible, heartbreaking, and unconscionable that the NYPD could be so heartless. Not looking for details but if another awful fentanyl death it should add to the cry for addressing this terrifying problem that has claimed so many lovely young people.
My heart as well as my condolences goes out to Mrs Tostoy. Regarding the ‘response’ she got from a “high ranking” police officer — one has to wonder how someone can lose compassion to that degree, or perhaps he never had any. Terrible loss and terrible tragedy compounded.
I have no words… RIP, Drexyll. My thoughts with Kellie.
I don’t even want to comment on the detective’s attitude.
What a devastating experience! Were the police able to answer any of the questions any parent would ask — like cause of death?
I am SO sorry fir the loss of your son. What an awfully sad and disappointing outcome. The way you were treated is shocking. It’s a very strange defense in response to being accused of doing nothing.
It’s not even a coverup. I’m flummoxed.
Could it be that so many are missing because the police don’t bother looking? I have heard that police don’t make as big an effort to search for people of color.
Will we see more outrage? Or will this mishandling also be forgotten?
I recall Drexyll him from WSR. I so hoped he’d be found. Finally, he was.
Cherish your memories.
Midtown South: You’re accused of doing nothing. What say you?
How horrible. I can’t even imagine what Kellie is going through. A mother’s worst nightmare.
ohhhhhh!!! so sorry to you and all of beautiful drexyll’s loved ones.
What courage and persistence to come and to find him. Deep condolences that this was the end of the story. I’m so sorry this is what it took to get such very basic follow up, from his employer, the police, anyone, over so long. Bless you all.
Devastating outcome – deepest condolences to the family & friends. Kellie, you are a hero for organizing such an effort to find Drexyll and for overcoming so many obstacles including heartless and inept NYPD. Those who were going out of their way to NOT help you ( not doing their job! ) should be held responsible.
We are SO sorry for your pain and offer condolences. RIP Drexyll. We care.
I’m so sorry for his family. What unnecessarily prolonged suffering. How could a decomposing corpse be missed by all for months???
Make Room Make Room is a novel that explores what could happen when public services are overwhelmed by demand. Set in NYC, it offers an allegorical vision of how something like this can occur. RIP Drexyll and thanks to WSR for reporting this story.
That officer was a jerk but a LEO did save my life at an MVA so there is for sure one ok cop out there.
Every career has bad apples; your job too.
Condolences to the family from our family.
NYPD is just as rude and unprofessional as most other government employees.
My sincere condolences to the family. My heart breaks for the Mother!
Read the go fund me post. According to the post, the owner of blackfish reached out a dozen times to the detective and they never responded. They never looked at the surveillance cameras showing him walk back in. So heartbreaking and a cold, callous, cruel, awful job done by the detectives/NYPD if this is all true. So sorry to his, mom, dad, ans family.
The response from the police officer is unforgivable.
And how did a body lay behind a building for SIX MONTHS on W 32nd St???
And how did no one look directly around the vicinity of the place he went missing?
I’m so very sorry, Kellie and family. This story struck me deeply when I first read it, as my own son is my world, and your love for Drexyll was so clearly felt through all your efforts. I had hoped you would receive a different outcome and certainly better support from the police. May he rest easy.
The NYPD did not give that answer 1 person did, I understand to a grieving mother there is no difference, but it is unfair to blame 30,000 people for the remarks of 1 person. The NYPD normally does give not priority to adult nonelderly. missing people unless there are special circumstances. Yes, missing for 7 months can be special circumstances but not necessarily. People in NYC for a variety of reasons do choose to drop out of contact with their families. Do I think more could have been done, of course. Most Cops understand that in a situation like this when you have no answers to give a grieving mother, compassion and empathy, go a long way.
OPOD>The NYPD did not give that answer 1 person did
This is true ( based on the above facts ), but if you read Kellie’s detailed update, you’ll see that she’s run into a lack of professionalism throughout – surveillance tapes at work were not checked, calls were not returned (seventy eight days to get the first call from detective) etc.
OPOD>NYPD normally does give not priority to adult nonelderly
This is also true, and it’s a part of the problem. The system is not setup to help. Sure people can drop off the radar, but there are! cases just like this when action is required and just sitting on one’s hands is NOT the answer! We need to figure out how to help…
So very sorry for your loss
How very tragic and sad. I admire his family who didn’t give up the search, and my heart breaks for them this this is where it led them.
My deepest condolences for family of Drexel Tolstoy, peace to you all
I’m so sorry you are going through this. Condolences to you and your family. On the hand of the officer I would file a formal complaint with the dept. Probably just another heartless tyrant cop. There are very few good cops out there these days. As a mother of a missing Son you have every right to ask questions and of course you will have questions. Last I checked this is AMERICA.
Reported missing and the obvious area not searched. This is not a story of one single officer’s malfeasance!!
Keep deep throating the boot and back the blue until it happens to you! People need to remember who the cops,deputies, troopers ect bosses are . This is obviously a mother who lost a son and a DEPT that obviously did NOT do their job. Wouldn’t it be OBVIOUS to check AROUND the last known place he was seen? Then to have a heartless cop make some cocky comment like that? I would be lighting that cop and the DEPT up if it were my child remember those cops work for US!
So sorry for your loss and for the treatment you were given by the police . When a family is looking for a missing loved one you look harder and deeper. God bless you all 🙏
Didn’t they think to search around his place of business ?? ,This is awful
Wow!!!! I’m in disbelief. You say his body was found behind his business that he went missing which means they never searched for him because the grounds where he worked would’ve been the first place to look. My condolences to your family. This is so heartbreaking, unprofessional, and down right disrespectful to the mother and the deceased. 😡😡😡😡😡
This story is a warning to all what to expect from interactions with NYC’s “finest.”
The NYPD’s attitude is why there’s the need for criminal justice reform in the first place. Its unfortunate that candidates like Eliza Orlins squander this opportunity to cater to white gentrifiers who have no experience dealing with police and want to virtue signal while ignoring her own campaign volunteers that dealt with police abuse of power.
From 1 mother to another who also lost her son, my deepest condolences. Sending you a virtual hug. Not all cops are heartless when dealing with people . Unfortunately, MOST are!!!
No one has to bury their children before they have passed, but obviously this day and age criminals get more rights than true patriotic citizens whose lived their lives being good tax payers and this is what our lawyers, judges and police and politicians have left us with. You can’t even defend yourself and your son probably tried and was killed…my prayers and condolences and that you will find peace and the crime will get resolved if not in this life but maybe your sweet young man will show you somehow through the vail. Peace my darling angel peace…
The truth always comes to light, but time isn’t always on your side, there is no excuse to have him found a few hundred feet from his work place. Somebody dropped the ball on this one!
….maybe contacting an attorney and levying charges of dereliction of duty against the Dept. in general and the “high ranking official” in particular may serve as learning moment so this doesn’t happen to another grieving parent.
That won’t bring her son back.
It may help countless other families and their loved ones.
How could a corpse be left to decay behind a building for six months without anyone noticing? I hope WSR will follow up on this and get the Medical Examiner’s report to find out what he died from.
Do you know that crowded, massively built-up, stretch of 32nd St? Totally believable. Of course, for someone with authority to ask building management of various buildings, or even the low-rise bar a block north that backs on to the area behind that building…then someone could look, could check from neighboring rooftops and behind backyard structures. But not just anyone can go ask or get listened to for access. It might take an hour or two of law enforcement time. Or even a weekday or two, trying access points from different buildings. But believe me, no one working in the buildings around, and no one walking down the street around bags of restaurant garbage all winter, would be any the wiser. Someone would have to care enough to go looking.
It took 7 months to find this person & he was literally behind the building that he was last seen @?!?! You’ve got to be f’n kidding me?!? 😳
Drexyll’s story made People magazine, which mentions the West Side Rag and the Daily News as sources