MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WROC) — It’s been 13 years since Brittanee Drexel disappeared, but an arrest has been made and her remains have been found, giving friends and family the long-awaited closure they have been seeking.
Authorities say 62-year-old Raymond Moody is charged with murder, kidnapping, and criminal sexual conduct for the death and disappearance of Drexel. According to Georgetown County Sheriff Carter Weaver, Moody has an extensive “sex offender criminal history.”
“To the Drexel family, we mourn with you and we pray for you as you cope with the tragedies of 13 years ago,” Weaver 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.”
Police in the area recently reported the discovery of human remains, in a wooded area of Georgetown County, South Carolina. Those remains were identified as those of Drexel, confirmed through dental records.
The Chili native was 17-years-old when she went missing in Myrtle Beach in 2009 and police have been looking for her ever since.
Bar Harbor is the name of the hotel that Drexel was staying at before she vanished. Surveillance video of her leaving the hotel was potentially the last image taken of Drexel.
The FBI declared Drexel dead in 2016.
Raymond Moody, 62, was named a person of interest two years into the investigation. He was charged last week with obstruction of justice — and the date of the alleged offense was the same date that Drexel went missing.
“The search for Brittanee is now a pursuit of justice,” said Dawn Pleckan, Brittanee’s mother.
“It’s bittersweet. Weighing it all out is tough on a father and a mother,” said Chad Drexel, Brittanee’s father.
Dawn Pleckan announced there will be celebration of life events held in both Rochester and Myrtle Beach in the coming days with more details to be announced.
“Brittanee’s mother Dawn and her father Chad were promised that every resource would be used to find the answer of what happened to Brittanee, where did it happen, how did it happen, and why did it happen,” Weaver said. “The why may never be known, or understood, but today this task force can — confidently and without hesitation — answer the rest of those questions.”
Law enforcement officials from local, state, and federal agencies were present for Monday’s announcement regarding the arrest. Weaver said the investigation and evidence ultimately led police to a site where Moody buried Drexel.
Remains were discovered and recovered at that site on May 11. The remains were then positively identified as Drexel.
“Every police officer has that one case that frequents their every waking thought,” said Amy Prock, Myrtle Beach Police Chief. “This was that case for many people on our team and other law enforcement teams. We all stayed close with the Drexel family as we exhausted avenue after avenue in this investigation.”
“It may have taken them a long time, but we are glad that we are able to bring Brittanee home,” Dawn Drexel said.
Moody was a registered sex offender living in South Carolina when Drexel disappeared. According to the arrest warrant, Moody is accused of strangulating Drexel. The arrest warrant also says Moody took “overt actions to conceal and/or dispose of evidence. For the kidnapping charge, Moody is accused of unlawfully seizing, confiding, or inveigling the victim. According to the warrant, Moody use “aggravating force” when committing the “non-consensual sexual battery” against Drexel.
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