GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The body of a New York teen who disappeared while on a 2009 spring break trip to Myrtle Beach has been found, officials said Monday, and a man accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and murdering her has been arrested.
The remains of Brittanee Drexel were discovered Wednesday in a wooded area of Harmony Township, putting an end to more than a decade of uncertainty regarding her whereabouts. Georgetown County Sheriff Carter Weaver said the remains were identified through dental records.
“The ‘why’ may never be known or understood, but today this task force can confidently and without hesitation answer the rest of those questions along with the ‘who is responsible,’” Georgetown County Sheriff Carter Weaver said. “The ‘who’ is Raymond Douglas Moody.”
Moody, 62, of Georgetown, is charged with murder, kidnapping, and third-degree criminal sexual conduct, according to warrants.
Warrants show Moody allegedly caused Brittanee Drexel’s death by manual strangulation on or about April 25, 2009. Moody also allegedly sexually battered Brittanee Drexel on the same night, according to the warrants.
Moody was booked on an obstruction of justice charge on May 4. The sheriff’s office violated South Carolina’s public records law by refusing to provide the incident report for Moody’s arrest, according to an expert. It also refused to explain the arrest.
Moody was given a $100,000 bond on the obstructing justice charge. He doesn’t have bond on the other charges, according to 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson.
“We are much closer to the closure and the peace that we have been desperately hoping for,” Brittanee Drexel’s mother Dawn Drexel said at the news conference.
A celebration of life will be held both in Rochester and Myrtle Beach, but no dates have been announced, Dawn Drexel said.
Chad Drexel, Brittanee Drexel’s father, thanked officials for everything they’ve done.
“It may have took them a long time, but we are glad that we are able to bring Brittanee home,” Dawn Drexel said.
WROC obtained arrest warrants for Moody, which state Moody “while in the County of Georgetown, did take overt actions to conceal and/or dispose of evidence of a crime also committed in the jurisdictional boundaries of the County of Georgetown.”
A SLED background check obtained by WBTW on Thursday revealed Moody’s charge for obstructing justice was on April 25, 2009 — the date Drexel disappeared.
In 2016, an FBI agent said Brittanee Drexel was abducted, gang-raped, shot to death and thrown into an alligator-infested swamp, citing a statement from a prison inmate. On Monday, Richardson said it is now null and void.
WRBL asked the FBI on Monday for a statement regarding the alligator pit allegations and whether or not Timothy Taylor, who was named a person of interest in the disappearance, was still connected to the case. The FBI sent the following statement:
“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.”
In 2011, Nexstar’s WRBL confronted Moody who said he knew nothing about the case and told the reporter to leave or he would call the police.
A replay of the news conference is available in the player above.