COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Authorities in South Carolina say they’ve found the body of a 17-year-old girl from New York who disappeared while visiting Myrtle Beach on spring break 13 years ago.
They say a 62-year-old sex offender with an extensive record has been charged with murder, kidnapping and rape. Raymond Douglas Moody was charged with murder, kidnapping and first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Brittanee Drexel was last seen April 2009 when she was walking between hotels in Myrtle Beach. Police say Drexel’s body was found last Wednesday after a flurry of tips and investigation that included Moody’s arrest May 4 on an obstruction of justice charge. They released few other details.
The teen’s mother thanked those involved in the search for her daughter over the years. Dawn Drexel said the news Monday was bittersweet.
“I am slowly processing everything that has come to light,” she said.
Brittanee Drexel was a high school soccer star, PIX11 News previously reported. She’d asked her mom about going to Myrtle Beach for spring break, but her mom shot her down. Brittanee Drexel then asked about going to a friend’s home in Rochester, New York, which her mom OK’ed.
The teen and several friends then snuck down to Myrtle Beach. Dawn Drexel learned about what happened from her daughter’s boyfriend.
“He’s like, ‘She’s in Myrtle Beach and they can’t find her,’” Dawn Drexel previously said. “And I’m like, ‘What? What do you mean they can’t find her?’ And my heart just sank. I thought she was here the whole time and I felt in my heart she had made this decision that may have cost her her life.”
Back in 2016, an FBI agent said the missing teen was abducted, gang-raped, shot to death and thrown into an alligator-infested swamp. Officials cited information they got from a prison inmate interviewed during the investigation.