A new search connected to the 2009 disappearance of Brittanee Drexel started Friday morning just outside Georgetown city limits.
News13 reached out to Drexel’s mom, Dawn Drexel, for comment on Friday’s search, but she said she was unable to comment and directed us to reach out to her lawyer. Brad Conway, Dawn Drexel’s attorney, confirms officials contacted his office and Dawn Drexel about “investigative activity” in connection to Brittanee Drexel’s disappearance happening in Georgetown County.
FBI Supervisory Agent Don Wood confirms FBI agents are involved in “investigative activity” just outside the city limits of Georgetown. Wood says the FBI is being assisted by the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office, and Myrtle Beach Police Lt. Joey Crosby confirms investigators from Myrtle Beach are also involved in the new Drexel search.
Unmarked SUVs, trucks, and trailers line a dirt road just off of Highway 521 in Georgetown County. FBI agents and investigators with the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office can be seen canvassing a wooded area.
News13 has a crew at the scene, but nearly immediately after arriving was asked to leave because the area where the search is being conducted is private property.
Agent Wood was not able to release any information regarding what new evidence or tip led federal agents to the specific area in Georgetown County. He also denied expanding upon what specific evidence agents hope to find in the area or how long the search would last.
Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson says even eight years after Drexel’s disappearance, tips in the case continue to come in to officials.
“It doesn’t go a week without hearing about different leads and things like that and um that’s been going on for a while,” says Richardson. “Of course, when you actually put boots on the ground, and start moving around, people start to notice, but we’ve been getting quite a few good leads.”
Richardson says the amount of police involvement in the Drexel case has been substantial and officials are determined to find closure for the Drexel family.
“In this case, we’ve talked to about, Berkley, Charleston, Georgetown, Horry, it’s multi-counties that we’ve already touched upon,” confirms Richardson. “We’ve been working with the federal government in this case; It helps clear up all those jurisdictional matters, and they have been great to work with.”
Drexel was 17-years-old when she vanished during her spring break trip to Myrtle Beach on April 25, 2009. Since that time FBI agents, officials from Myrtle Beach, Horry County, Georgetown County and SLED, have been involved in numerous searches for the teen or any evidence in the case.
The CUE Center reports Drexel was abducted while walking street side to her hotel after retrieving her shoes from a person staying at the Blue Water Inn. Drexel is seen on surveillance video leaving the Bluewater Resort in Myrtle Beach, walking north on South Ocean Boulevard.
In June 2016, the FBI, partnering law enforcement agencies, and the Drexel family hosted a press conference in McClellanville to ask for the public’s help in gaining new information that could reveal what happened to Drexel the night she went missing. A $25,000 reward was offered to anyone who can offer information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the disappearance and presumed killing of Drexel.
During that press conference, FBI Special Agent in Charge David Thomas says investigators believe Drexel was taken from the Blue Water Inn in Myrtle Beach to McCllelanville, and was held against her will for several days.
“We believe she traveled from the Blue Water, here, to this general area, and was here for several days,” Thomas said during the press conference. “We are confident in the fact that she was here.”
No arrests have been made in her disappearance. Drexel’s cell phone transmitted its last known signal the day after she disappeared near the South Santee River, between McClellanville and Georgetown.
Just two months after the press conference, in August 2016, court documents show an FBI agent testified in court that eyewitnesses say Drexel was taken to a stash house in McClellanville where she was gang-raped, shot after trying to escape, and her body was fed to alligators.
In those same court documents, the name Timothy Da’Shuan Taylor is brought up in connection with Drexel’s disappearance. FBI agents name Tequan Brown as an eyewitness who says Taylor and others sexually abused Drexel. Brown says he saw Drexel try to run from the house and she was pistol whipped, and taken back inside. Brown says he later heard two gun shots and assumed Drexel was shot. FBI agents say several witnesses told them Drexel’s body was then fed to alligators. Drexel’s body has not been found and Davis has never been charged in her disappearance or presumed death.
FBI agent Gerrick Munoz testified in August 2016 that he believes more witnesses will soon come forward to confirm Taylor’s involvement in Drexel’s murder, but as of right now, no one has been charged.
If you know anything about Brittanee Drexel and what may have happened to her, call Wilmington-based CUE Center for Missing Persons 24 hour tip line at (910) 232-1687, or visit http://www.ncmissingpersons.org.