Ten years missing: Brittanee Drexel not forgotten a decade after she disappeared
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – At 8:48 p.m. on April 25, 2009, Brittanee Drexel was seen for the last time.
Her last few steps were taken in front of the Blue Water Resort on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach. Surveillance video captured her leaving the resort that Saturday night. Ten minutes later, her last text was reportedly sent to her boyfriend in New York. Her boyfriend responded and when that text went unanswered, he contacted her mother, who called police.
That phone call set off an investigation that continues to this day, exactly 10 years later. Drexel has not been seen since that Saturday night and there are dozens of questions that remain unanswered. Investigators held full-scale searches for two weeks after she disappeared, but called off the search on May 10, 2009, with no clues or signs of Drexel.
Friends and family continued the search with no updates for one year.
Despite the time that’s passed, Drexel’s mother, Dawn Pleckan, can still recall the moments before and immediately after her daughter disappeared. That includes the last conversation she had with her 17-year-old child.
“It’s harder every day,” Pleckan said. “You know, you miss her and you know just the little things that she used to do. We so talk about her all the time. I have a huge support system so I, it gets me through my days.”
Pleckan was unaware that Drexel was hundreds of miles away in South Carolina on April 25, 2009. The teen came to Myrtle Beach without permission.
Chad Drexel, who adopted Brittanee at just 3 years old after marrying her mother, said he didn't come to Myrtle Beach immediately after the teen disappeared. He stayed in New York to take care of her two younger siblings.
Drexel remembers the feeling of learning his daughter was missing, hundreds of miles from home.
“You kind of feel like, OK, say you're reaching, you're at the zoo, and your child just fell on the other side of the fence and it was like a huge lion den's fence and the child is just barely hanging on and you're literally two inches from grabbing them and you can't get to them,” Drexel said. “So that's the feeling that I had."
Committed to solving her daughter’s case, Pleckan moved to the area. She said she met with the FBI multiple times over the years and still has contact with Myrtle Beach police on the investigation.
Still, she admits the case isn't where she thought it would be after so much time.
“I just think we should be a lot further than we are. As a mother, it’s just really hard to accept that in 10 years they haven’t gotten anything,” Pleckan said.
One of the most recent developments in Drexel’s case was a South Carolina inmate's accounts involving the teen in the days following her disappearance.
In a conversation with the NBC affiliate in Rochester, NY, Taquan Brown recounted the time he saw her at an abandoned house in McClellanville, two days after she was last seen in Myrtle Beach.
In 2016, Brown implicated Timothy Da’Shaun Taylor in Drexel's disappearance.
While testifying in an unrelated case surrounding Taylor, an FBI agent said Brown told him he witnessed Taylor and others sexually abuse Drexel at a stash house in the McClellanville area.
He also recounted Timothy Taylor's father, Shaun Taylor, was in the room.
While outside the house, Brown said he saw Drexel run out and get pistol whipped before being brought back inside. Afterwards, he said he heard two gunshots.
However, Brown said he saw Drexel alive again, five days later, in Jacksonboro, S.C., a town about 80 miles from McClellanville.
Then, in late May of 2009, Brown said he saw a man shoot Drexel with a double-barrel shotgun. The girl’s body, he said, was then fed to alligators.
In a televised interview, Taylor denied any involvement in Drexel’s disappearance.
When it comes to this case, there was one other person of interest earlier on in the investigation. In 2012, Myrtle Beach police announced they were investigating Randall Moody of Georgetown County.
Moody has a criminal history and served 21 years in prison for charges including forcible rape and kidnapping. Officials said he received a speeding ticket in Surfside Beach just one day after Drexel disappeared. Moody was also named as a person of interest in the 2005 disappearance of Crystal Soles. She vanished from the Andrews area of Georgetown County.
WMBF News checked in with both Myrtle Beach police and Andrews police to see if he is still a person of interest in both cases, but have not heard back.
As the sun sets on Thursday, it will be setting on another year without answers.
Anyone with information about Drexel’s disappearance is asked to call (800) CALLFBI. A $25,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in this case.
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