Myrtle Beach, SC

Man Arrested & Body of Brittanee Drexel Found After She Went Missing 13 Years Ago

Kimberly Forsythe

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Raymond Moody is shown in this booking photo, taken on May 4, 2022.(Georgetown County Sheriff's Office)

Brittanee Drexel disappeared while on Spring Break in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 2009. She was 17 at the time. Since then, her parents Dawn Pleckan and Chad Drexel have never stopped looking for Brittanee.

During an interview with ABC News, her mother shared the story of Brittanee's disappearance. "She asked me if she could go and I told her no," Pleckan recalled. "And she asked me why. I said, because I don't know the kids you're going with. I don't -- there's no parental supervision and something's going to happen."

Despite her mother's warnings, Brittanee went on the trip with friends. She was last seen leaving a Myrtle Beach hotel on April 25, 2009. After visiting a friend who was staying at the Blue Water Resort, she was caught on surveillance camera walking back to her hotel alone. Other surveillance footage tracked her about halfway back to her own hotel. Then, she vanished and was never seen again.

Brittanee's case drew national attention, with investigators offering a reward of $25,000 for information in the case. In 2016, during a bond hearing for Timothy Da'Shaun Taylor, new details emerged in the case. An inmate that had been serving time with Taylor, named Taquan Brown, came forward and told authorities that he had seen Drexel at a "stash house" shortly after her disappearance. Brown stated he had seen Taylor sexually abusing Drexel while others in the house looked on.

While Brown was in the backyard of the home, he said he saw Drexel attempt to escape the home but was quickly recaptured. He then observed Taylor pistol-whip Brittanee, drag her back into the house, and soon heard two gunshots. Later, he watched as what appeared to be a wrapped body was dragged from the home and dumped in an alligator pond in the area.

It is believed Brittanee was kidnapped and held against her will for trafficking purposes. Taylor was arrested, but despite the information investigators had, they still had not located Drexel's body.

Then, on Monday, a break in the case came when police arrested Raymond Moody, a 62-year-old registered sex offender, who allegedly confessed and told police where to find Drexel's body. Police searched a wooded area in Georgetown County, South Carolina, last week, and recovered the remains.

Moody had been a suspect in the case for more than a decade after it was discovered that Moody had been staying at another hotel near Drexel's at the time of her disappearance. Acting upon a lead after Moody's arrest, investigators found Drexel's remains in a shallow grave about 3 miles from the hotel Moody had stayed at.

Despite Brown's claims that Drexel may have been shot and thrown into an alligator pond, the arrest warrant alleged Drexel had been strangled and buried in the wooded area near a gated private area outside Georgetown.

Police arrested Moody after he turned himself in on a warrant in connection with an obstruction of justice charge. In 2012, police had investigated Moody in connection with Drexel's disappearance but lacked enough evidence to arrest him.

Moody is currently being held without bond in a Georgetown County jail. He faces charges of kidnapping,  first-degree criminal sexual misconduct, and murder.

Drexel's family has asked for privacy as they continue to cope with the news of her death. "This is truly a mother's worst nightmare," Pleckan said in the Good Morning America interview. "I am mourning my beautiful daughter Brittanee as I have been for 13 years. But today, it's bittersweet. We are much closer to the closure in the piece that we have been desperately hoping for."

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