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Missing Teen: Brittanee Marie Drexel- -SC- -04/25/2009

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Search for missing NY teen continues

By Aisha Khan
WBTW Reporter
Published: April 28, 2009

MYRTLE BEACH - The mother of a missing New York state high school student is asking anyone who may have seen her daughter to contact police.

Myrtle Beach Police are searching for 17-year-old Brittanee Marie Drexel, of Rochester, NY. According to a police report, she was last seen around 8 p.m. Saturday.

Her mother, Dawn Drexel, says Brittanee is a junior at Gates Chili High School in Rochester, and was in Myrtle Beach with a group of older friends. Dawn Drexel says her daughter did not have her permission to travel to Myrtle Beach.

“I last talked to her Saturday around two o’clock. Her boyfriend spoke to her around eight o’clock,†Drexel said.

“She sent a text message to one of her friends around 9:15 p.m. and said she was going to see another friend who was staying at another hotel. She never came back,†Drexel said. “It’s been almost 48 hours, and I’m really worried. We need everyone to be looking out for her.â€

John Hahn a friend of Drexel’s family and a Marine stationed at Camp LeJeune, NC, contacted police on the family’s behalf to report her missing. Hanh drove down to Myrtle Beach to help Dawn Drexel and her parents look for the missing teen.

“I’ve been friends with Britannee for a really really long time, we are very close friends. I’m trying to pray for the best but prepare for the worst,†said Hahn.

Hahn and Drexel both tell News 13 that it is very unlike Brittanee to not keep in contact with family or friends. Drexel added that she has a bad feeling about what may have happened to her daughter.

“It’s horrible because all I can think about is that someone could’ve taken her, someone could’ve taken her out of state she could be laying dead somewhere. She is my first born and it’s just tearing me up inside, I’m just very very upset,†said Drexel.

“I know for a fact that she wouldn’t just pack up and leave, leaving all of her belongings behind and not calling anybody,†said Hahn.

According to the report, Drexel was staying with a group of friends at the Bar Harbor Hotel, 1010 N. Ocean Blvd. Since her disappearance, the group moved to the Boardwalk Hotel, located at 2301 N. Ocean Blvd.

Authorities handed out printed flyers of Brittanee’s picture to the beach’s watch patrol. Crews there said they are pretty heavily staffed at this time of the year, which makes it easy to do a search of any missing persons.

“With the water being as cold as it is and temperatures dropping at night it’s you know it’s very unlikely that she went for a swim or anything of that nature. We haven’t had any leads or any luck, we’ve been going up to different patrons doing pretty much everything that we can do out here to make sure she is not out on the beach or if she is we would definitely have found her by now,†said beach manager Wesley Cox.

“With the water being as cold as it is and temperatures dropping at night, it’s very unlikely that she went for a swim or anything of that nature.â€

Drexel is described as 5-feet tall, weighing 103 pounds. She has brown, shoulder-length, straight hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing a multi-colored striped shirt, black shorts, and flip-flop sandals. She reportedly suffers from depression.

Police entered Drexel’s description into the National Crime Information Center database on Sunday.

Anyone with information on Drexel’s disappearance or whereabouts should contact the Myrtle Beach Police Department at (843) 918-1382.

Stay with News 13 and for more on this story as details become available.



Dawn Drexel drove from New York on Monday to come to Myrtle Beach to look for her missing daughter, 17-year-old Britannee Marie Drexel. She spoke exclusively to News 13’s Aisha Khan on the events that led up to the disappearance and her efforts to find her daughter.
Click the above link to watch
Click the above link to watch coverage of this story on CNN’s Nancy Grace.

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Brittanee Drexel, 17, Missing While on Spring Break
April 28, 2009 by Saul Relative



Gone on Spring Break Without Mother's Permission, Then Gone Without a Trace

Brittanee Drexel, a 17-year-old junior at Gates Chili High School in Rochester, New York, is missing. After being told by her mother that she could not go with her friends on Spring Break to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, she went anyway. On Saturday evening, just after 8 p.m., she left a hotel room of a friend to return to her hotel and has not been seen since.

Brittanee Drexel left with a group of older friends Wednesday for a Spring Break trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. On Saturday, she walked from her hotel room to another hotel to visit a friend, who was also from Rochester. After leaving that friend's room, supposedly headed back to her own room, Brittanee disappeared. Myrtle Beach Police have almost nothing else to go on.

Brittanee's mother, Dawn Drexel, told WBTW in Myrtle Beach that she had a "gut feeling something is wrong." She said that her daughter would never leave her clothes behind. All of Brittanee's clothes were still in her hotel room.

"Something's wrong," Dawn Drexel, obviously distraught, said. "It's not like my daughter to not call."

The family arrived in Myrtle Beach Sunday to help search for the missing teen. A family friend, John Hahn, a Marine stationed at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, drove 2 and one-half hours to Myrtle Beach Sunday to file a missing person report to get things moving as soon as he found out from Brittanee's friends and family that she was missing. Hahn, 20, has known Brittanee Drexel for about 8 years.

"It just doesn't make sense," Hahn told Democrat And Chronicle. "It's very weird that she just up and vanishes." He went on to say, "We're all praying for the best, but preparing for the worst."

Myrtle Beach Police Captain David Knipes said that Brittanee's friends changed hotels Sunday before preparing to leave for the return trip to New York. He also said that finding that Brittanee suffered from depression heightened concern for her well-being.

Cases such as Brittanee Drexel's always resurrect the story of Natalee Holloway, the Alabama teenager who went missing after traveling with a group from her high school to the Caribbean island of Aruba. Her case caused a media sensation, exacerbated by conflicting tales and what looks like shoddy, lackadaisical investigation methods exercised by Aruban authorities. Natalee Holloway went missing on May 30, 2005. She nor her remains have ever been found.

Brittanee Drexel is described as 5', weighing approximately 103 pounds. Anyone with information as to the missing teenager's whereabouts is asked to contact the Myrtle Beach Police Department at (843) 918-1382.



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Tuesday, Apr. 28, 2009

Teen remains missing; police continue search

Tonya Root -

Police continued Tuesday to search for a 17-year-old missing girl from New York. She traveled to Myrtle Beach with friends then disappeared sometime Saturday, Myrtle Beach police Capt. David Knipes said.

No new details were available, and Brittanee Marie Drexel of Rochester, N.Y., had not been located as of Tuesday morning, Knipes said.

Drexel was last seen Saturday after she left her traveling companions to visit other people at another hotel. Drexel never returned, police said. The friends she traveled with from New York to the area already have returned home.

Brittanee Marie Drexel, a 17-year-old from Rochester, N.Y., has been reported missing in Myrtle Beach.

A friend at Camp Lejeune, N.C., reported her missing around 5 a.m. Sunday after learning she had not been seen, police said.

Drexel met a friend from New York and three men Friday at Club Kryptonite, according to a police report. She briefly met them again around midday Saturday on the beach, and again around 8 p.m. that night, police said.

The men said she left them to return to her traveling companions, who had a room at the Bar Harbour Hotel. Police said she never reached the hotel.

Police said Drexel, who is described as 5 feet tall, 103 pounds, suffers from depression. She was last seen wearing black shorts, flip-flops and a multicolored striped shirt. She is white, has shoulder-length brown hair and blue eyes.

Anyone with information should contact the Myrtle Beach Police Department at 843-918-1300.

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Mother of Missing Teen: A Parent's Worst Nightmare

Last Update: 10:05 am

(Rochester/Myrtle Beach, S.C.) -- The search for a missing teen from Chili in Myrtle Beach is now into its third day.

Dawn Drexel said that her daughter Brittanee asked to go on the trip on Wednesday, but she wouldn't allow her to go.

She thought her daughter was then staying at a friend's house near home.The two spoke while she was away. All the while, Drexel thought her daughter was here.

That changed Saturday night when friends called to say the 17-year-old was missing.

Drexel said she went down to Myrtle Beach Saturday night. She spoke to 13WHAM's Ginny Ryan by phone Thursday night.

"She's my daughter, she's my first child, I mean, what would go through any parents it's your worst nightmare to have something happen to your kids," she said. "I mean it just tears you up inside. The love that you have for your kids when they're born, it's just, no one understands that unless you're a mother, or a parent."

Dawn Drexel appeared on the Nancy Grace national CNN news program Monday night.

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Missing teen's mother in Myrtle Beach for search

By Graeme Moore

Monday, April 27, 2009 at 10:06 p.m.

Posted Image

A New York teen on spring break in Myrtle Beach is missing.

Monday her family helped in the search.

17-year-old Brittanee Drexel was last seen Saturday night.

She was staying at the Bar Harbor Motel with friends from New York.

Myrtle Beach Police say Drexel left alone and went for a walk.

Her mother arrived Monday morning and says she thinks one of the boys her daughter was with is hiding something, and says he keeps changing his story about the last time he saw Brittanee.

The mom says all of Brittanee's belongings were left in the hotel, and her cell phone is dead.

She's optimistic but says she fears Brittanee may not be alive.

"I'm planning on staying here until I've exhausted everything. I mean, I want to find my daughter. I mean, I'm going to do what I need to do here."

"I'm very scared. I'm very stressed. I'm very afraid that my daughter may not be alive," she continued.

Police are looking for Brittanee but at this point don't think she was a victim of a crime though they aren't ruling anything out.

If you have any info about Drexel, call the Myrtle Beach Police Department call (843) 918-1382.

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The Brittanee Back Story

Reported by: Ginny Ryan


Last Update: 11:33 am

Dawn Drexel was near exhaustion and tears when I spoke to her.  She had been awake since Saturday night when she drove to Myrtle Beach to try and find her 17-year old daughter Brittanee.

Imagine a call telling you your daughter is missing.  Then imagine not knowing she is a 1,000 miles away.

Dawn Drexel told me Brittanee had asked to go to Myrtle Beach on Wednesday with friends. Mom said no.  Brittanee persisted.  Mom insisted: "No."

Any parent of teen can imagine what happened next or maybe just I can.  An argument ensued.  When it was over, and things calmed down, Brittanee asked to go to a friend's house to chill out.  Dawn asked whose house and said “yes.â€Â

The next day Dawn says, she called Brittanee and asked to speak with the dad of the girl she was staying with.  A man got on the phone and said all was fine.  The "man" as it turns out was a boy.  Probably a friend posing as dad and by that time Brittanee could have been in Myrtle Beach.

Dawn and daughter kept in touch daily-- but Dawn was still in the dark.  Friday, they spoke and "made up".  Brittanee apologized and told her mom she loved her.  Dawn did the same.  All seemed pretty good.

Saturday, Dawn went to the store to buy Brittanee soccer cleats as her club season was beginning this week.  She called Brittanee to see what kind she wanted.  When Dawn asked "What are you doing?".  Brittanee said she was at the beach.  "Oh, Charlotte", said Dawn. "It's a beautiful day!"

The next call came from friends saying Brittanee could not be found.  The cell phone in which mother and daughter kept in touch several times a day went unanswered.  The clothes in her hotel room untouched and left behind.

Mom's gut tell her something is wrong.  She is worried out of her mind.  I can't imagine living with that feeling for three minutes let alone three days. 

As a parent, as mad as you might be at your teen, the important thing is to find them first and make this right. Deal with the rest later.

When they're babies, no one imagines life as the parent of a teen, but once you're there, you realize just about anything can happen.

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“Person of Interest” Questioned in Brittanee Drexel Case

Last Update: 4/28/2009 at 8:07 pm 

(Webster, N.Y./Myrtle Beach) - A young man from Webster has been questioned in the disappearance of a Chili teen in Myrtle Beach.

Police say Peter Broswick is considered a person of interest in the case.

Broswick has retained a local attorney and is not speaking.

Broswick was the last known person to see Brittanee Drexel Saturday night.

She went to Myrtle Beach with friends without her mother's permission.

13WHAM’s Sean Carroll spoke with Brittanee’s mother, Dawn Drexel, in Myrtle Beach and she has a message for Broswick: “Peter, we need to know what's going on.”

“Brittanee is very special to us. We need to know what is going on. We need to know why the authorities weren't called. We need answers and we're not getting them,” Dawn Drexel said.

Drexel’s mother said about 13 people from the area are in Myrtle Beach putting up fliers and looking for her.

The Myrtle Beach P.D. has interviewed friends and others involved in the case in their continuing investigation. They said they’ve “attempted to gather every possible piece of evidence|video, cell|or other related evidence” in the case.

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NY teen still missing after Myrtle Beach spring break

By Graeme Moore

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 1:02 a.m.

A New York teenager on spring break in Myrtle Beach has vanished, and police are intensifying efforts to find her.

The 17-year-old and three friends from Rochester, NY, checked into the Bar Harbor Hotel last Wednesday.

Those three friends checked out, but Brittanee Drexel never did.

Last Wednesday, Brittanee Drexel made the trip with friends to Myrtle Beach without her mother -- Dawn Drexel's -- permission.

"I'm just getting really nervous. I just want my daughter. I just want her to be with me," Dawn Drexel told NewsChannel 15.

Dawn talked with Brittanee everyday until Saturday and thought she was with friends in New York. Up until Saturday night Dawn didn't know Brittanee was in Myrtle Beach until she got a call from Brittanee's boyfriend, John Grieco.

"He said, 'Yeah they can't find her.' What do you mean? I said, are you serious? He said "Yeah,'" said Dawn.

According to police, Brittanee left the Bar Harbor Hotel and went to visit a friend named Peter Broswick. Broswick is also from Rochester and was staying at the Blue Water Resort with a different group.

Police reports say Brittanee left Broswick's room when one of her friends at the Bar Harbor called and said she needed back her pair of shorts.

Police are operating on the assumption that Broswick was the last to see Brittanee who never made it back to the Bar Harbor hotel -- about a 20-block walk along the beach from the Blue Water Resort.

When a missing persons report was filed on Sunday, Brittanee's friends told police they had not seen her since the night before.

Police found Brittanee's belongings (except her cell phone) still in the Bar Harbor hotel room.

Police also discovered that Broswick checked out a few hours after last seeing Brittanee -- around 1:00 a.m. Sunday and drove back to Rochester.

Brittanee's family said a private investigator told them Broswick did not collect his security deposit before leaving, though NewsChannel 15 has not been able to confirm that.

Brittanee's mom finds Broswick's quick departure fishy.

"He's like 'OK, we had to check out.' I'm not stupid. You don't check out at one or two in the morning," said Dawn Drexel.

Since then, no one's heard from Brittanee.

Her mother, family, and boyfriend John came to Myrtle Beach Sunday to hang fliers.

"I'm not going home until she's found," said John Grieco. "I'm hoping she came and enjoyed the weather and needs a couple more days. Then hopefully she'll come back," Griece said, adding he was more optimistic after hearing of possible, but not confirmed, sightings of Brittanee on Tuesday.

Brittanee's mother is also holding out hope, though she still fears the worst.

"The worst thoughts are either somebody took her, somebody may be holding her against her will or she may not be alive, " Dawn said.

Calls to Peter Broswick on Tuesday went unreturned, though NewsChannel 15's affiliate station, WHAM, in Rochester reports that Broswick has hired an attorney and isn't talking.

Myrtle Beach Police say they're working with SLED and other agencies on several leads, but they aren't speculating. NewsChannel 15 confirmed the Georgetown County Sheriff's Department assisted Myrtle Beach in investigating one lead on Tuesday, though they wouldn't elaborate.

Cpt. David Knipes with Myrtle Beach Police Department couldn't answer many specifics on Tuesday but said they aren't ruling anything out.

"Until you actually have a person and know they're OK, you can't rule anything out. You know, it could be anything from being a runaway to an abduction. We just don't know right now," said Knipes.

Knipes said several investigators are tracking down all leads including reviewing cell phone records and surveillance video and tracking down interviews.

When asked what he thought of Broswick's leaving just hours after last seeing Brittanee, Knipes said he's sure eyebrows would be raised.

"I have not had the chance to interview him to find out why. Obviously going back to Rochester is a 16-17-hour drive. I don't know what his plans were. So it's hard to speculate without talking to him directly," Knipes said.

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Posted at: 04/29/2009 1:44 AM |

Updated at: 04/29/2009 10:11 AM

Webster man questioned in case of missing Chili teen

Peter BrozowitzPolice are now questioning a Webster man in the disappearance of a Chili teen, missing in Myrtle Beach.

Police are questioning 20-year-old Peter Brozowitz. He lives with his parents in Webster. CNN is reporting that he checked out of his hotel around 2 a.m. the night Brittanee Drexel went missing.

Brozowitz was in Myrtle Beach this past weekend with his friends Phillip Watson, Matthew Abrams and Keith Cummings, all from Rochester. Drexel, 17, a junior at Gates-Chili High School, was in Myrtle Beach without her mother’s permission.

According to Brozowitz’s attorney, John Parrinello, Brozowitz met Drexel at a party last Saturday and was later at his hotel room with his friends. Parrinello says Drexel left his client’s room to return to her girlfriends’ hotel but hasn’t been heard from since.

Brittanee’s mother, Dawn Drexel, has traveled from Chili to Myrtle Beach to hand out flyers in hopes that someone has seen her daughter.

“Either someone has picked her up or she's not alive,†Dawn Drexel said. “In my heart of hearts that's how I feel because I know it's not like my daughter to do this.â€

As for Brozowitz, Parrinello says he is fully cooperating with police in Myrtle Beach and with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, which is now helping on this case. He says Brozowitz is worried about Brittanee and hired an attorney because he has been inundated with calls from the media.

“It is certainly unfair to him if anybody implies or suspects him of having done anything wrong with respect to Brittanee,†Parrinello said.

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Missing Chili Teen Reported Sighted

Last Update: 1:55 pm

According to the ABC affiliate in Myrtle Beach, WPDE, missing Chili teen Brittanee Drexel may have been seen.

Myrtle Beach police searched an area Wednesday morning after someone reported seeing Drexel get off a bus there.

Around 8:35 a.m. Wednesday, maids on a county bus in Myrtle Beach reported seeing a girl fitting Drexel's description getting off a bus on North Ocean Boulevard.  This is the same area where she was last seen.

Police showed the women a picture of Drexel and they identified her as the girl on the bus.

Officers canvassed the area searching for Drexel and remain in the area completing an intensive search, but she still hasn't been found. They are going through beach accesses in the area and visiting businesses to distribute fliers with Drexel's photo.

Drexel, 17, was reported missing early Sunday while visiting the area.

13WHAM's Sean Carroll is in Myrtle Beach investigating this and any other new information in the case.  We'll bring you latest information as it becomes available.

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Myrtle Beach police investigate possible sighting of Gates-Chili teen

By Mike Murphy, staff writer

Gates-Chili Post

Posted Apr 29, 2009 @ 01:50 PM

Gates, NY

Posted Image

Police in Myrtle Beach, S.C., are investigating a possible sighting Wednesday morning of a Gates Chili High School student who was reported missing Saturday.

Myrtle Beach Police Capt. David Knipes said officers are investigating after they got a call about a girl matching the description of Brittanee Drexel being seen on a bus from Georgetown, S.C., headed to the Bar Harbor Motel area where she was last seen.

Knipes said Wednesday that police have been unable to locate her, however.

The person was wearing a pink, hooded top with a blue shirt underneath, Knipes said. She was also wearing light-colored blue jeans and Croc shoes.

Police there have been receiving tips, all of which have been followed up on but many have turned out to be dead-ends, he said.

Because Myrtle Beach is a destination resort area with many tourists, police there are often called to investigate missing persons and runaways, Knipes said. In this case, police are treating this case “very seriously†particularly because Drexel, 17, has a history of mental health issues, he said.

“Our number one concern is her safety,†Knipes said.

Locally, police are questioning a Webster man, Peter Brozowitz, 20, in connection with the disappearance, according to a News 10NBC report.

His attorney, John Parrinello, told Messenger Post’s news partner that Brozowitz is cooperating with police, although he did not immediately return phone calls to Messenger Post.

Drexel, a junior at Gates Chili, suffers from depression, according to Myrtle Beach police. Her mother, Dawn Drexel, is in South Carolina along with some family members; she has been on several national TV shows and newscasts, pleading for information on her daughter.

Dawn Drexel has said her daughter made the spring break trip with friends without her permission.

“Either someone has picked her up or she’s not alive,†Dawn Drexel said. “In my heart of hearts that’s how I feel because I know it’s not like my daughter to do this.â€

Gates Chili school officials released a statement Monday, saying their thoughts and prayers go out to the Drexel family during this difficult time. School counselors remain available to students.

The district also offered a moment of silent reflection Tuesday night during a school board meeting.

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NCMEC Poster and Information

Posted Image

Endangered Missing


DOB:  Oct 7, 1991

Missing:  Apr 25, 2009

Age at disappearance: 17

Sex:  Female

Race:  White

Hair:  Brown

Eyes:  Blue

Height:  5'0" (152 cm)

Weight:  103 lbs (47 kg)

Missing From:



United States


Her ears and nose are pierced. Brittanee has blonde highlights in her hair. She was last seen wearing a white, black, teal, and gray top, along with black shorts, similar to the outfit pictured above. Brittanee was also wearing white flip flops.

Myrtle Beach Police Department (South Carolina) 1-843-918-1000

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Police scour rivers for missing N.Y. girl

Saturday, May. 02, 2009

By Kelly Marshall Fuller

GEORGETOWN -- An intense land and water search near the North and South Santee rivers Friday turned up nothing for police looking for a missing 17-year-old girl from New York.

Police officers from Myrtle Beach were in Georgetown County with officials from several other agencies, searching areas near U.S. 17 and two rivers for Brittanee Marie Drexel, who disappeared while on a visit to Myrtle Beach.

Capt. David Knipes with the Myrtle Beach police said investigators are following all leads, one of which led officers to look into an area of Georgetown County.


Brittanee Marie Drexel, a 17-year-old from Rochester, N.Y., has been reported missing in Myrtle Beach.


Lt. Chuck Capp would not specify what information in the tip led police to the remote river location.

Drexel still is considered a missing person, according to Capp, who said nothing related to her was located during Friday's search.

Officers from the Myrtle Beach Police Department, Georgetown County Sheriff's Office, Charleston County Sheriff's Office, State Law Enforcement Division and North Charleston Police Department were at the river until late Friday.

Also searching were representatives from Community United Effort, a North Carolina-based organization that searches for missing people, and North Carolina Canine Emergency Response Team, a group of retired police officers who assist with searches.

Some searchers used boats with side-scan sonar equipment to check the river for the girl, Capp said.

Monica Caison from CUE used dogs to search a forest nearby. Authorities expect more people to participate in the search when it resumes at 10 a.m. today.

Police have been looking for Drexel since she was reported missing Sunday.

On Thursday, police learned that a reported sighting of Drexel on Wednesday was incorrect. A young woman who fit Drexel's description turned out not to be her, Knipes said Thursday.

Officers found the woman that witnesses reported seeing at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday on a bus from Georgetown to Myrtle Beach and confirmed she was not Drexel, Knipes said.

Police said Drexel, who is described as 5 feet tall and 103 pounds, was last seen wearing black shorts, flip-flops and a multicolored striped shirt. She has shoulder-length brown hair and blue eyes.

Anyone with information should contact the Myrtle Beach Police Department at 843-918-1382 or 843-918-1952.

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River, Highway Searched for Missing New York Teenager on Spring Break

May 02, 2009

The search for missing teenager Brittanee Drexel has led South Carolina authorities to a river and highway about 30 miles south of where she was last seen, but the efforts have yet to yield new information, police said.

Myrtle Beach Police Capt. David Knipes said officers are following a number of different tips in the dissappearance of the upstate New York 17-year-old, who left home on a spring break trip against her mother's wishes.

One of the tips led police to two different rivers and areas along U.S. 17, the main highway going south out of Myrtle Beach.

However, "there is nothing new to report on Ms. Drexel," Knipes said Saturday.

Drexel, a junior on spring break from Gates-Chili High School in Rochester, N.Y., left the Bar Harbor Hotel at about 8 p.m. April 26 and went to visit a friend named Peter Broswick, who was with a group of male friends at the nearby Blue Water Resort. Police have released footage of the girl entering and leaving the lobby of the Blue Water about 8:30 p.m.

Detectives think Broswick may have been the last one to see the missing teen alive.

Broswick is also from Rochester and left Myrtle Beach to return home about 1 a.m. the night Drexel was last seen, according to News Channel 15's

Knipes told he doesn't know the nature of the pair's relationship, and he wouldn't call Broswick a suspect.

Drexel's mother, Dawn Drexel, is worried because the teen suffers from depression, and she's losing hope that her daughter will be found safe. Brittanee Drexel may have been upset because her mother and stepfather are getting divorced.

Dawn Drexel said she didn't want her daughter to go to Myrtle Beach, but the girl had "her mind set" on it and went anyway. They continued to keep touch by phone  until the contact abruptly ended the night Brittannee disappeared.

Family and friends spent the past week canvassing popular beach clubs and hangouts in the resort town without any results.

Brittanee Drexel has blue eyes and shoulder-length brown hair with blond highlights. She's 5 feet tall, weighs about 100 pounds and was last seen wearing a multi-colored shirt, black shorts and flip-flops.

Those with any information are asked to call Myrtle Beach Police at (843) 918-1300, 1-800-CRIME-TV or 1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678).

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Cell-phone signal led searchers to river to look for missing N.Y. girl

Saturday, May. 02, 2009

A cell-phone signal led authorities to the South Santee River in Georgetown County this weekend to search for a missing New York girl, but neither the phone nor the girl has been found, authorities said as they continued their efforts this afternoon.

Brittanee Marie Drexel's cell phone was not in use when it gave off its last signal Sunday near U.S. 17 and the Charleston County line, and investigators do not know how it got to the area, said Sheriff Lane Cribb in a brief news conference at the search site. Phones normally give off a signal until their batteries run out, he said.

About 50 people - including the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, rescue dog teams and private search groups - are now searching for the 17-year-old Rochester girl in about a 6- or 7-mile area, officials said. Helicopters, land and water teams are all looking for her, but no signs have been found, Cribb said.

Rachael Stein, friend of Brittanee Marie Drexel, hangs a missing poster across the street from the Bar Harbour Motel on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach. Drexel was staying at the Bar Harbour Motel when she went missing Sunday. Stein traveled to Myrtle Beach on Monday with a group of friends and family to help look for Drexel. Photo by Sabree Hill for the Democrat and Chronicle. 

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Dozens search Santee River area for missing spring breaker

May 02, 2009

The search for a missing 17-year-old spring breaker intensified Saturday as almost 50 men and women combed an area for clues in southern Georgetown County.

Searchers gathered at Pole Yard Landing on the North Santee River around 10:00 a.m. and were dispatched to look for any signs of 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel of Rochester, N.Y., who went missing Saturday, April 25, from Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach.

By 6:00 p.m., however, crews wrapped up the search without any evidence, Lt. Chuck Capp with the Myrtle Beach Police Department said.

Investigators said earlier in the week that a cell phone signal from Drexel's phone was traced to a cell tower in the North Santee River area.

Capp said the cell phone was active Saturday night into Sunday, but that there has been no activity on it since.

Myrtle Beach investigators were assisted by the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office, S.C. Department of Natural Resources, Charleston County Sheriff's Office, CUE Center for Missing Persons and other volunteer agencies.

Crews used about a dozen search dogs, several ATVs and a boat to search along the river and Highway 17 and in areas surrounding Pole Yard Landing.

"We have to exhaust all leads, and we are going to do everything we can to answer our questions here, and the leads are still being conducted and investigated up at the beach," said Lt. Capp.

Capp said Drexel is still being treated as a missing person but that as more time passes, the less optimistic he becomes.

"You don't draw conclusions, but you worry with time," he said.

Drexel arrived in Myrtle Beach with a few friends from Rochester last Wednesday without her mother's permission. They were staying at the Bar Harbor Resort on Ocean Boulevard.

By Friday, she had met up with a male friend, Peter Brozowitz also from Rochester, at Club Kryptonite, according to police.

Drexel met up with Brozowitz and a few other guys again on Saturday and went back to their hotel room at the Blue Water Resort that night, police said.

But around 8:15 p.m., Drexel got a call from one of her girlfriends at the Blue Water Resort. That friend wanted Drexel to return a pair of shorts, so Drexel left Bar Harbor and was heading to Blue Water, but according to police she never made it.

Lt. Capp said Saturday that police have other leads that they are actively pursuing, and he said the search in Georgetown County may be scaled back on Sunday.

For additional reporting on the Brittanee Drexel case, see links below.

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Project Jason Profile:

Name:  Brittanee Drexel

Alias:  Britt

Date of Birth:  10/07/1991

Date Missing:  04/25/2009

Age at time of disappearance:  17

City Missing From:  Myrtle Beach

State Missing From:  South Carolina

Gender:  Female

Race:  White

Height:  4 ft 10 in

Weight:  103 lbs

Hair Color:  Brown/Blond highlights

Hair (other):  Bleached to Blond with Brown

Eye Color:  Blue

Complexion:  Medium, part Turkish

Identifying Characteristics: Nose piercing, very petite and physically fit

Clothing:  Black shorts, black and white dress shirt, white flip-flops

Jewelry: Nose ring

Circumstances of Disappearance:  Last seen in the vecinity of 11th Ave South and 21 Ave South, Myrtle Beach South Carolina

Medical Conditions:  None

Investigative Agency:  Myrtle Beach Police Dept

Agency Phone:  (843) 918-1910

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National group joins search for missing N.Y. girl

Kurt Knapek


Officers, family members and a national organization are continuing to look for a New York girl who went missing April 27 in Myrtle Beach.

Carol Wagner said Monday her granddaughter, Brittanee Drexel, 17, has been dealing with depression for about the past year because her parents are divorcing, the family house is being sold and the teen learned she may have to switch high schools before her senior year.

“It has just been one thing after the other,” said Wagner, who came to Myrtle Beach with her husband soon after learning of the disappearance. “Brittanee keeps it all bottled up inside. Between the fights with her parents and school and a boyfriend, it probably just ate her up inside.”

“She said, ‘I have to get away for a while.’ We didn't know she was going to come down here. We thought she was at a friend's house back home... She's never done anything like this before.”

Police did not receive any new leads to the girl's whereabouts Monday, according to Capt. David Knipes, spokesman for the Myrtle Beach Police Department.

“We're still looking for her,” Knipes said. “She could be a runaway, a missing person or an abduction. We don't have a label on it.”

Also Monday, two representatives from the Laura Recovery Center for Missing Children arrived in Myrtle Beach to assist in the search, according to Bob Walcutt, executive director. The Texas-based group's mission statement is to “prevent abductions and runaways and to recover missing children by fostering a Triangle of Trust among law enforcement, community and a missing child's family.”

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Cell phone technology used in search for missing teen

By Joel Allen

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 4:39 p.m.

No new developments Monday, in the search for a missing teenager from upstate New York. Searchers have focused on an area near the North Santee River, because that's where her cell phone last gave out a signal.

17-year-old Brittanee Drexel from Rochester, NY was last seen Saturday, April 25th leaving the Blue Water Resort in Myrtle Beach.

Investigators say her cell phone gave a signal to a cell tower in southern Georgetown County the night she went missing.

The search has recently focused on the area along Highway 17 around the Santee River on the Charleston - Georgetown county line.

Crews scoured the area this weekend, but came up short.

A search that originates with a cell phone signal isn't always successful, but at least it gives searchers a starting point.

Whether or not you're using it to make a call, whenever your cell phone is turned on, it's constantly sending a signal to towers near its location.

If police know a missing person's cell phone number, they can have the phone company track down which tower most recently received a signal from that number.

"It's not a very specific area, it's a very vague area. Those cell phone towers can go for miles and pick up a signal so we have a general area to start searching at least."

Every signal that a cell phone sends to a tower has a time stamp attached to it.

By calculating the amount of time in milliseconds that it takes for the signal to get from the cell phone to the tower, the phone company can calculate how close the cell phone is to the tower.

Keep in mind, the cell phone is sending a signal to many towers at the same time, and HTC engineer Ryan Graham says, for tracking purposes, the more towers the phone can communicate with, the better.

"Depending on how far away it is from tower A to tower B, it will triangulate that position of that phone, depending on how many sites. Obviously, the more sites it can communicate with, the better or tighter that triangulation can come," said Graham.

Unfortunately, there aren't many cell phone towers in remote, rural areas like the Santee River where police searched for Brittanee Drexel.

That means the searchers have a much bigger area to work with.

"It can be anywhere from right near the cell site, within a half a mile to 5,6,7 miles away, radius around the cell site," said Graham.

Still, it's better than nothing. Graham says about the only thing that could have helped police narrow their search would have been more towers in that area.

The process of calculating a cell phone location, is called "time difference of arrival."

Anyone with information about Brittanee Drexel is asked to call the Myrtle Beach tipline at 843-918-1963.

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Mom of Missing New York Teen: 'She May Not Be Alive'

Monday, May 04, 2009

The mother of missing New York teen Brittanee Drexel thinks her daughter could be dead after going on a spring break trip to Myrtle Beach against her wishes.

Dawn Drexel told WHEC News 10 in Rochester, N.Y. that her daughter would never run away.

"I seriously think someone took my daughter or she may not be alive," Dawn Drexel said.

Brittannee Drexel, a junior at Gates-Chili High School in Rochester, N.Y., left the Bar Harbor Hotel in Myrtle Beach at about 8 p.m. on April 25 to visit a friend named Peter Broswick, who was with a group of male friends at the nearby Blue Water Resort.

Detectives think Broswick may have been the last one to see the missing teen alive.

Broswick, who is also from Rochester, left Myrtle Beach to return home about 1 a.m. the night Drexel was last seen, according to News Channel 15's He and several others were questioned, but were cleared as suspects, according to the missing teen's mother.

"As far as I know they’ve done what they needed to do as far as those boys are concerned back home," said Dawn Drexel. "They’re not persons of interest anymore."

South Carolina authorities focused their search over the weekend on an area just south of where the teen disappeared after discovering the last place her cell phone gave off a signal.

Searchers using dogs, helicopters and boats concentrated on a 7-mile area along the South Santee River and U.S. 17.

Drexel's cell phone signal was captured last Sunday, a day after police say the teen was last seen.

Myrtle Beach Capt. David Knipes told reporters the search hasn't yielded any new clues in the case.

Dawn Drexel, has said she is concerned because the teen suffers from depression. The girl may have been upset because she and her husband are getting divorced, Drexel said.

Dawn Drexel added that she didn't want her daughter to go to Myrtle Beach, but the girl had "her mind set" on it and went any way. They continued to keep touch by phone - until the contact ended abruptly the night Brittannee disappeared.

Family and friends spent the past week canvassing popular beach clubs and hangouts in the resort town without any results.

Brittanee Drexel has blue eyes and shoulder-length brown hair with blond highlights. She's 5 feet tall, weighs about 100 pounds and was last seen wearing a multi-colored shirt, black shorts and flip-flops.

Those with any information are asked to call Myrtle Beach Police at (843) 918-1300, 1-800-CRIME-TV or 1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678).

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Boyfriend of missing Chili teen speaks out 


It has now been nine days now since a Gates-Chili High School student disappeared from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

There has been an all out search for Brittanee Drexel. And still no sign of the 17-year-old. She was in South Carolina on spring break.

Drexel's boyfriend, a 19-year-old from Chili, believes Brittanee has been abducted. John Grieco said, “It is not a runaway. I can tell you that right now.”

Grieco says he's known Brittanee for two-and-a half years and she would not runaway. “She could not drop her brother and sister, her grandfather. She knows her grandfather has a bad heart. She would not put her family through this.”

Grieco has been in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for the past week searching for his girlfriend. He was in Rochester when she disappeared and is back in Rochester for a day to take care of some business and he's headed back as soon as he can get a flight out.

Grieco has put college and his job on hold. “Even though every instinct is telling me she's not in Myrtle anymore. It's still a lot easier to walk the beach and hand out flyers than to sit at home and talk about it.”

Grieco was possibly the last person to communicate with Brittanee. Grieco sent her a text and she never responded. He broke the news to her family that she was in Myrtle Beach and missing. “Once I talked to her friends I found out that she walked back to her hotel alone and that was the last contact I had with her and that's when I knew something was wrong.”

Grieco says about eight people, mostly family members from Rochester, are in Myrtle Beach searching for the Gates-Chili High School junior.

He says they hand out flyers and talk to people everyday. Grieco is convinced Brittanee has been abducted and is no longer in Myrtle Beach. “My gut is telling me she's out there, she's alive and somebody has her and is doing horrible things to her.”

No matter what, Grieco says he won't give up. “Everything's been devoted to Brit, so I'm hoping this pays off.”

Grieco will be headed back to South Carolina with his father. He says Drexel's family is coping as best as possible. He says the support from Rochester is helping tremendously.

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Search resumes Wed for missing spring breaker; reward offered

By Graeme Moore

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 11:59 p.m.

Search crews on Wednesday will go door to door in Georgetown County trying to develop new leads in the case of the teenager who vanished while on spring break in Myrtle Beach.

Volunteers with out-of-state missing persons agencies will work with local law enforcement to re-canvass the area where the teen's cell phone last gave a signal.

It will be the 11th day since 17-year-old Brittanee Marie Drexel was seen leaving the Blue Water Resort on Ocean Boulevard.

Drexel disappeared around 8:45 p.m. on Saturday, April 25th, and according to Myrtle Beach Police, a signal from Drexel's phone was beamed to a tower near the Santee rivers in Georgetown County a few hours later. There was an additional signal beamed to the same tower on Sunday, but there has been no activity since.

For the better part of last week and weekend, crews searched a seven-mile radius around that tower but came up empty-handed.

Since then The Laura Recovery Center has joined forces with the CUE Center for Missing Persons, Myrtle Beach Police and Georgetown County Sheriff's Office.

In addition to knocking on doors in the area, volunteers from all of those agencies will research the areas and communities surrounding the Santee Rivers.

"We're just going to continue to scout the area for other possibilities," Monica Caison with the CUE Center in Wilmington said.

Meanwhile, Drexel's mother, Dawn, continues her efforts in Myrtle Beach to find her daughter.

"My heart is broken, I want my daughter to come home."

Dawn arrived in Myrtle Beach two days after her daughter was reported missing, and she hasn't stopped since.

"Day in and day out we look for Brittanee. Either we're passing out fliers or going to meetings or talking to the media. It's very exhausting. It's very tiring," Dawn said.

Despite the restless nights and long days, Dawn isn't giving in to her mental and physical exhaustion.

"We need to get that information out there. We need to find my baby, so we can bring her back home."

Police continue to investigate Brittanee's case as a missing person, and they are not ruling anything out -- including the possibility that Brittanee may have run away.

Dawn, however, says she knows better.

"The amount of pain it would cause ... she would not put anyone through this. ... I don't believe she ran away. I believe someone took her."

The Myrtle Beach Police Department has a tip line set up and asks anyone with information to call 843-918-1963.

Crimestoppers of the Lowcountry announced Tuesday night it's offering a reward of up to $1,000. Here's some information the organization released through a press release:

"The public is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers if they, or someone they know, have any information regarding the disappearance of Brittanee Drexel, or of any other crimes, by phone at 1-888-274-6372 (1-888-CRIME-SC), or on the web at"

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