Brittanee Drexel, a missing New York teen, was found dead in South Carolina after a 13-year search; a man has been charged with her murder. Read more below for more details.
Authorities stated Monday that the remains of a 17-year-old New York girl who went missing 13 years ago while on spring break in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has been discovered, and a sex offender has been charged with murder, kidnapping, and rape.
Brittany Drexel was last seen walking between hotels in Myrtle Beach in April 2009. When she stopped responding to SMS, her boyfriend in Rochester, New York, became concerned.
Drexel was taken that night by Raymond Moody, who raped and killed her before burying her body in the woods the next day, according to Georgetown County Sheriff Carter Weaver.
Drexel’s body was discovered last Wednesday in Georgetown County, some 35 miles south of where she went missing. After a flurry of tips and investigations, including Moody’s arrest on an obstruction of justice charge on May 4, the finding was made.
Investigators kept quiet about the break in the case until Moody, 62, was charged on Monday. He did not have a lawyer, according to jail records.
Moody has a “extensive sex offender history,” according to Sheriff Weaver, who did not elaborate. According to State Law Enforcement Division Records, Moody is on South Carolina’s sex offender registry for 1983 convictions in California for sodomy by force of a minor and kidnapping.
After 13 years of wild rumors, including stash houses for sexual abuse victims’ bodies to be fed to alligators and rumored links to other missing women, the sheriff, the Myrtle Beach police chief, the FBI agent in charge of South Carolina, and the solicitor all said little Monday about what helped them crack the case.
Drexel was strangled the night she vanished, according to arrest warrants.
Drexel’s remains were discovered last week, according to dental records backed up by DNA tests.
“It’s a good day to soberly be reminded of Brittanee and all that she and her family have had to go through,” Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said. According to CBS News.
“Today marks the beginning of a new chapter The search for Brittanee is now a pursuit of Brittanee’s justice,” said Drexel’s mother Dawn.
“This is truly a mother’s worst nightmare. I am mourning my beautiful daughter Brittanee as I have for the past 13 years,”
“It’s not the final chapter we had been hoping for,” Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock said Monday. “Every police officer has that one case that frequents their every waking thought.”
On Monday, Sheriff Weaver spoke to the family. “To the Drexel family, we mourn with you and pray for you as you cope with the tragedy of 13 years ago,” He said. “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.”