A timeline of events from the last moment Brittanee Drexel was seen, through present day leads in the case.
Created by jjsmith on Oct 19, 2010
Last updated: 11/22/10 at 09:15 AM
About 50 people searched a heavily wooded area in Charleston County Sunday looking for clues in the disappearance of Brittanee Drexel.
A show that follows the unpredictable path of a missing person's case will be highlighting the disappearance of Brittanee Drexel during its season premiere, schedued to air Oct. 4 on Investigation Discovery. The episode of "Disappeared" will attempt to piece together exactly what happened to the New York teen who vanished in April 2009 while on Spring Break in Myrtle Beach.
WMBF News traveled to Rockchester, NY to sit down with the Drexel family to see what new leads have developed in the case of their missing loved one.
More than 16 months after her disappearance, a New York church is offering a $5,000 reward to anyone with credible information leading to the discovery of Brittanee Drexel. The newest reward aimed at shedding light on the missing teen's case comes in addition to a $1,000 reward already being offered by CrimeStoppers of the Lowcountry.
Myrtle Beach Police were called to the 2200 block of South Ocean Boulevard after a woman claimed the occupants of a pale blue van attempted to abduct her near 22nd Avenue South. The victim told police she was walking to a nearby mini-mart when the van approached her. Two men inside of the vehicle, the woman said, grabbed her by the waist and arms in an attempt to pull her inside of an open van door. The related incident locations have sparked a large amount of speculation, but Myrtle Beach Police aren't quick to tie the crimes together. "At this time, we are not saying that the cases are related; however, we must exercise due diligence and properly review the cases and see if there are any similarities," Capt. David Knipes, spokesman for the Myrtle Beach Police Department, said.
Lt. Neil Johnson, spokesman for the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office, said the agency has requested an additional agent from the State law Enforcement Division to assist with the Brittanee Drexel missing persons case. SLED spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons said the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office made the request last week, and has since assigned an agent to the case. When asked the purpose of the additional agent, Timmons said the reasons for the extra manpower could jeopardize the case. Both the Myrtle Beach Police Department and Georgetown County Sheriff's Office have full-time investigators working only on the Drexel case, according to authorities.
The family of Brittanee Drexel is planning to publicly mark the one-year anniversary of when she disappeared. A gathering was held Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the Bar Harbor resort where Drexel was staying during her trip to the Grand Strand. People then joined in a march of about 20 blocks to the BlueWater Resort where she visited a friend and was last seen. Just beside the BlueWater, a vigil was held at the Hurl Rocks Park at 7:30 p.m.
The mother of a missing New York teen made an appearance on NBC's The Today Show on Friday in an attempt to raise awareness on the case. Drexel told Lauer that investigators have not shared any information on the persons of interest in the case, nor have they told her there is a location of interest. Drexel said she thinks one of three things happened to her daughter: "She's either being held against her will, she's been trafficked or she's not alive," she said.
Sgt. Neil Johnson of the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office confirmed Monday investigators have pinpointed three or four people of interest in the disappearance of the 18-year-old New York girl. Johnson said all persons of interest have been previously questioned by authorities, but could not confirm an exact time frame in which they were questioned. Two of the suspects, according to Johnson, have been subjected to lie detector tests. Johnson, however, has refrained from commenting on the results of those tests. "At this time, there is no reason to believe these people [the persons of interest] know Drexel directly," Johnson said.
Caison says they worked Friday, Saturday and Sunday looking by the Santee River in Georgetown County and in some parts of Charleston County. Myrtle Beach Police and deputies with the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office are searching the area around the North Santee River. Divers will be out Monday.
The family of Brittanee Drexel is back in the Grand Strand hoping to shed new light on her disappearance. The teen went missing back in April and her family is hoping a missing person advocacy group can help generate new leads in the case.
The C.U.E. center for missing people held an event at Chapin Park on Saturday afternoon to let people in Myrtle Beach now about Brittanee's disappearance. The group travels across the country hoping to generate publicity and awareness about missing person cases. "Somebody saw something and someone is sitting back thinking, oh it's not important. It could be the thing that breaks the case" said Monica Caison who heads the CUE center.
Myrtle Beach, Charleston, and Georgetown County officials met to talk about the search, and where to move on from here. Officials say they get about three new tips a day in this case, but still have nothing new that they consider significant.
The search for a missing New York teenager is heading into its second month, after 30 days of searches throughout the South Carolina coast. Even with no new leads, according to Myrtle Beach Police, 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel's mother and grandparents say they're still keeping their hopes up for the girl's safe return.
According to Myrtle Beach Police Capt. David Knipes, someone reported to the Horry County Police they may have seen 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at the Scotchman located at 5200 Socastee Blvd. The caller said a woman fitting Drexel's description used an ATM inside the store and left in a red Dodge Stratus with New York plates. Police say a number of leads surfaced on her whereabouts, but all led to a dead end.
Drexel was last seen at the Bluewater Hotel on April 25, just before losing contact with friends and family while she was vacationing in Myrtle Beach for Spring Break.