13 Years Missing Girl Case Solved
May 25, 2022 Don Pumphrey, Jr. Criminal Defense, News & Announcements Social Share
After thirteen long years of searching for their daughter, the Drexels finally have closure. Brittanee Drexel was only seventeen-years-old when she went missing in Myrtle Beach in 2009. Years of search parties, differing suspects, and FBI rewards granted to anyone with information have all failed up until now. Brittanee Drexel’s body was found this month after the arrest of the alleged killer.
Police have now arrested Raymond Moody with the kidnapping and murder of Drexel. After so many years of the case remaining open, we will cover the case details, the questions that still remain, and the responses by both police and Brittanee’s family in light of the arrest and found remains.
What was the Incident?
Brittanee Drexel had left her home in New York to visit Myrtle Beach for spring break in 2009. What was meant to be a fun week at the beach turned into the worst-case scenario when Drexel went missing. She had last been seen walking in between hotels along the beach. Her boyfriend back in New York started to worry when Drexel stopped responding to his messages.
After extensive searches and unanswered questions, the mystery of Drexel’s missing case has finally been solved thirteen years later. Several tips came in just at the same time police investigating the case had arrested Raymond Moody, 62.
Moody was arrested for obstruction of justice on May 4th, 2022. He had an extensive history as a sex offender, and was on South Carolina’s sex offender registry in 1983 for sodomy by force of someone under 14, along with kidnapping.
After a combination of the tips and arrest of Moody, Drexel’s body was found on May 11th, 2022. Authorities say dental records back up the DNA to confirm it is in fact, Brittanee Drexel. Her body was found in Georgetown County, only about 35 miles away from the coast where Drexel was last seen. Police believe that Moody kidnapped and raped Drexel, before killing her and burying her body in the woods the following day.
Georgetown County Sheriff Carter Weaver gave a statement regarding Drexel’s found body: “The why may never be known or understood. But today, this task force can confidently and without hesitation answer the rest of those questions along with the ‘Who is responsible?’”
Questions Still Remain
Although finding Brittanee’s remains and the arrest of Moody bring some closure, there are still questions that remain. Many are wondering what exactly led the police to Moody? Earlier in the investigation, he was questioned, but then another suspect and theory pointed police away from Moody.
In a press conference in 2016, FBI special agent David Thomas announced that no body had been found and no arrests had been made, but they had reason to believe that Brittanee was dead. The FBI was offering a reward of $25,000 for any information leading to an arrest.
Several months later, a prison inmate confessed to the FBI that he had information pertaining to Brittanee’s case. The inmate, Timothy Da’Shaun Taylor, claimed that Brittanee was abducted, gang-raped, shot to death, and finally thrown into a swamp filled with alligators near McClellanville to get rid of the body.
Federal prosecutors charged Taylor for the crime in court. It seemed like an unusual decision but was acknowledged by authorities to have been partially motivated by the belief that Taylor had information on Brittanee’s disappearance. Now that Moody has been arrested, it’s clear that Taylor most likely never saw Brittanee, and that he had been lying to the police. It remains unclear what caused Moody to resurface on the radar of investigators, but the documents with Moody’s charges may indicate what led police back to him.
At the most recent press conference, there were no questions taken. In addition, investigators have not yet provided any information about what led them to finally break the case thirteen years later.
Responses from the Drexel Family
Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said of the solved case, “It’s a good day to soberly be reminded of Brittanee and all that she and her family have had to go through.”
Police Chief Amy Prock had been working on the case in Myrtle Beach when Brittanee first disappeared. She said she could never forget the case, even as she moved on to other ranks in the police system. “It’s not the final chapter we had been hoping for. Every police officer has that one case that frequents their every waking thought.”
Georgetown County Sheriff Carter Weaver gave a press conference on May 16th regarding the solved missing person’s case. He addressed the family directly: “To the Drexel family, we mourn with you and pray for you as you cope with the tragedy of 13 years ago. No one deserves to go through this and our hearts go out to you. Our only hope is that this finding allows your family to grieve properly for Brittanee.”
Dawn Drexel, Brittanee’s mother, made sure to thank the investigators who helped find her daughter. The Drexel family made a trip out to Myrtle Beach this week, one different than the previous trips for search parties, TV interviews, and candlelight vigils.
“Today marks the beginning of a new chapter. The search for Brittanee is now a pursuit of Brittanee’s justice…This is truly a mother’s worst nightmare. I am mourning my beautiful daughter Brittanee as I have for the past 13 years,” Dawn said.
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