GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. — South Carolina investigators believe they have solved the disappearance and murder case of Brittanee Drexel, who went missing 13 years ago while on a spring break trip to Myrtle Beach.
Multiple law enforcement agencies held a press conference Monday afternoon in Georgetown County to announce two major developments: that Drexel's body had finally been recovered and positively identified and that the man they believe killed her is in custody and charged.
Raymond Douglas Moody, 62, is charged with murder, kidnapping, and criminal sexual conduct first degree.
"Brittanee has been found and she can be with her family and at peace," said Susan Ferensic, the FBI Special Agent in Charge.
Drexel, a 17-year-old from Rochester, New York, had gone down to Myrtle Beach for spring break in April of 2009. She was reported missing on April 25.
Investigators now believe Moody kidnapped Drexel and took her to Georgetown County, where he lived. Not long after they arrived, they believe he sexually assaulted her, killed her, then buried her body hours later.
In the intervening years, it had been a mystery of what Drexel's ultimately fate was and there was no justice for who may have harmed her. In 2012, Moody was named a person of interest the case but was never charged.
"Every police officer has that one case that frequents their every waking thought," said Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock. "This was that case for many people in our team and several agencies throughout this state."
But on May 11, 2022, the critical break came: human remains were found in Georgetown County, about 30 miles from where she was last seen alive, and collected by the FBI. Investigators say she was first identified through dental records and then a subsequent DNA test conducted by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division confirmed her identity.
Multiple media outlets report a warrant states that Drexel died from strangulation.
Moody was charged last week with obstructing justice but his charges have since been upgraded. Georgetown County Sheriff Carter Weaver said Moody has an extensive sex offender history.
The officers all said the same thing: they hope this discovery, while tragic, gives the Drexel family peace. Her mother and father, Dawn and Chad Drexel, were there for the announcement Monday.
"This is truly a mother's worst nightmare," Dawn Drexel said. "I am mourning my beautiful daughter Brittanie as I have been for 13 years but today it's bittersweet. We are much closer to the closure and peace that we have been hoping for."