MCCLELLANVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) — The family of Timothy Taylor, a man once accused in the disappearance and murder of 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel, spoke out publicly for the first time on Thursday.

It comes just days after authorities announced Raymond Moody, once listed as a person of interest, had confessed to killing the teen while was in Myrtle Beach on spring break 13 years ago and told them where her remains were located.

“To God be the glory, to God be the glory, to God be the glory” said Joan Taylor from behind a podium in McClellanville, South Carolina. The mother of three was visibly emotional as she spoke to the media outside the Masonic Lodge.

The Taylor family expressed their support and heartache for the Drexel family, who for years had no idea what happened to their teenage daughter. “We understand the tragic loss of Brittanee, of her life, and it has changed her family forever. As a mother of three, I truly understand. It pains me to even think about losing a child.”

She noted that her son lost his arm at 4 years old. “That caused him to fight for his life. Thirteen years later, at the age of 16, we were faced with the possibility of losing him again,” said Joan Taylor. “The years-long fight against false accusations and the media frenzy that have traumatized us, affecting every aspect of our lives. It has publicly questioned, without reason, our family, our family’s character, and has shaken us to the core.”

Timothy Taylor became involved in the Drexel investigation in August 2016 after law enforcement was told by an FBI information that Taylor sexually assaulted and helped in Drexel’s murder.

Taylor was arrested sometime later on an unrelated robbery charge and arrested again in November 2017 after violating terms of bail. He was released in 2019 and given three years of probation.

His mother, Joan said the latest developments in the Drexel case “confirmed what we knew from day one – the truth that my son, Timothy, was suspected without any credible evidence of a crime he did not commit.”

Taylor said Timothy maintained his innocence despite what she called relentless local and federal law enforcement.

“Our family stood by him and consistently spoke out against the false accusations that too often are directed at people who look like us. An age-old story in America. Today, I stand here surrounded by family and close friends and speak on Timothy’s behalf because my son has endured enough.”

The FBI essentially cleared Taylor of his connection with the case in a statement provided to News 2 saying, “Throughout the investigation law enforcement followed multiple leads to wherever they led us based on the information we had at the time.  We have an obligation to follow leads to their conclusion. The person we believe is responsible for Brittanee’s murder has been charged.”

Still, Joan said the damage is done. “His name and face will forever be linked to Brittanee Drexel because of a lie. We’re not relieved, we’re enraged that it took this long.”

She called for law enforcement to halt the practice of disclosing unfounded leads and names of potential suspects without credible evidence in hope something like this would never happen to another family.

Moody was arrested May 4 on an initial charge of obstruction of justice. Drexel’s remains were discovered in a wooded area of Georgetown County on May 11 and identified – using dental records – as Brittanee Drexel on May 16.

Moody was charged with murder, kidnapping, and criminal sexual conduct.