Arrest Made in 2009 Myrtle Beach Disappearance

Brittanee Drexel, 17, vanished during spring break
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2022 5:31 PM CDT
13 Years Later, Suspect Charged in Teenager's Death
Dawn Drexel listens during a news conference in 2016 about the investigation into the disappearance of her daughter, Brittanee, in 2009.   (REV-SHARE)

A full 13 years after Brittanee Drexel disappeared while on spring break in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina authorities said Monday that a suspect has been charged in her death. Raymond Moody, 62, is in custody, officials said, and has been charged with rape, murder, and kidnapping, WCIV reports. The 17-year-old's remains were found last week. Her parents attended the Georgetown County sheriff's press conference Monday, per CBS News. "Today marks the beginning of a new chapter," her mother, Dawn, told reporters. "The search for Brittanee is now a pursuit of Brittanee's justice."

Brittanee Drexel was last seen walking between hotels one night in April 2009. She'd gone to Myrtle Beach with friends from Rochester, New York, after telling her mother she was going to stay at a friend's house, per CBS. Moody kidnapped, raped, and killed the high school student, Sheriff Carter Weaver said Monday, then buried her body in woods the next day. She'd been strangled, the arrest warrants say. Moody was arrested May 4 and first charged with obstruction of justice.

Sheriff, police, and FBI officials said little about how the case got to this point, so many years later, other than saying there'd been a rush of new tips; the investigation had spawned a series of bizarre theories and rumors. Weaver said Moody has a lengthy record as a sex offender that includes convictions in California. The sheriff told the victim's parents he hopes they'll be able to "grieve properly" now. Dawn Drexel thanked investigators for their work and said, "I am mourning my beautiful daughter Brittanee as I have for the past 13 years." (More disappearance stories.)

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