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

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Mother of missing teen Brittanee Drexel marks 4 year anniversary of her disappearance

Posted: Apr 25, 2013 9:55 PM MDT

Updated: Apr 25, 2013 10:00 PM MDT

By Erika Hayes


Coming back to Myrtle Beach brings up painful memories for Dawn Drexel.  Thursday she visited the tree she planted in The Market Common in remembrance of her daughter Brittanee.

"Doesn't get any easier," Drexel said.  "I mean, I take it day by day, you know, some days are more difficult than others."

Thursday marked four years since Brittanee Drexel went missing while on Spring break in Myrtle Beach with some friends. 

The then 17 year old was last seen April 25, 2009 on surveillance video leaving the Bluewater Resort, walking North on Ocean Boulevard.

No one has seen or heard from her since, but Dawn isn't ready to give up.

"I know for a fact that someone knows what happened to my daughter," she said.

The Drexels have made countless trips back and forth from their hometown of Rochester, New York back to Myrtle Beach to search for Brittanee.

They've worked with local and state law enforcement and FBI investigators to search for anything that could solve Brittanee's case.  But the numerous investigations over the years haven't turned up many clues.

"One thing we're fortunate with, four years later, is that there are still leads and tips coming in, whether they're useful right now, or they could mean something later on, so we just remain hopeful that people continue to call in," Monica Caison with the CUE Center for Missing Persons said.

Thursday was also a day to simply honor Brittanee's memory.

Family and friends planted forget-me-not flowers at the site of Brittanee's tree.

"Because when we planted the tree, this was a tree of hope for Brittanee," Drexel said.

It's a hope that is not yet lost, and a reminder of a mother's promise to her daughter.

"When the world says give up hope, hope whispers try one more time," she said.  I'm not going to stop looking for Brittanee, I will never stop looking for her."

If you know anything about Brittanee Drexel and what may have happened to her, call Wilmington-based CUE Center for Missing Persons 24 hour tip line at (910) 232-1687, or visit,.

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Women found in Ohio sparks hope for local missing person cases

Posted: May 07, 2013 7:10 PM EDT

Updated: May 08, 2013 1:12 PM EDT

By Kelsey Riggs


It's the phone call Gail Soles hopes to one day hear from her daughter.

"I've been kidnapped and I've been missing for ten years, and I'm here, I'm free now," Amanda Berry cried out.

After police rescued Berry, two other woman, and a six-year-old from a house in Ohio, many families of missing person have a renewed sense of hope.

"It gives me so much hope. I'll never give up now, never ever. I just know one day we're going to find  Crystal," Gail said.

Gail said in the past eight years many people gave up on her daughter.

"You know you just don't quit on your kids, no matter what you just don't," Gail said.

But she isn't alone in the fight to find a missing child.

"With Brittanee being missing, you have to keep their name and face out there. You have to keep the awareness going," Dawn Drexel said.

Since Brittanee's disappearance in 2009, her family kept searching.

"There is hope, and that should not discourage any families from the chance of finding their child alive," Dawn said.

George Graham works with the CUE Center for Missing Persons where he helped with searches for Crystal and Brittanee.

"That's what this case brought up, there's always hope that they are alive but until you find out otherwise, you just don't know," Graham said.

He said each case brings a new awareness to what happened in the past.

"Some of them won't pan out, but you never know when it will and that's the hope whenever you mention somebody missing that someone will call," Graham said.

And while many questions still linger, there's one thing both mothers said will never change.

"I'm never going to give up, she's my baby, my baby girl. The only daughter I ever had. And I will never ever, as long as I can I'm going to be finding my child one way or the other," Gail said.

To read more about Crystal Soles, go to

To read more about Brittanee Drexel, go to

Anyone with information about either of the cases should call the CUE Center for Missing Persons at (910) 232-1687.

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Jawbone found under bridge gives few clues so far
Staff reports Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 5:24 p.m.
UPDATED: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 5:34 p.m.

A human jawbone that was found on an island under the Ravenel Bridge last week has not been identified, but investigators have ruled out a couple possibilities.

The bone did not come from Gayle McCaffrey or Brittanee Drexel, two high-profile missing persons, the Charleston County Coroner’s office said Tuesday.

It had not been determined Tuesday if the jaw came from a male or female.

Boaters looking for bottles on Drum Island found the lower half of a jaw and turned it over to authorities.

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High-profile missing person cases in Horry County

by Kaila DeRienzo

Posted: 12.27.2013 at 9:35 PM


Several people have gone missing from our area since 2007. The searches for all of them continue today.


Kareem Ward, 22, was last seen in Aynor on June 16, 2007. Ward's car was pulled from a boat landing on the Pee Dee River three days later, but he was nowhere to be found.


Brittanee Drexel, a 17-year-old from Rochester, New York, disappeared while on a spring break trip to Myrtle Beach in 2009. Her case was featured on many national media outlets.


A former trainer for the Coastal Carolina University football team, Brandon "Peanut" Graves, was last seen at a Sumter nightclub on January 30th, 2010.


In August, 19-year-old Zachary Malinowski went missing in Aynor. His burned out car was found not far from his Horry County home, but Malinowski is still missing.


Most recently, there is the case of Heather Elvis, a 20-year-old Socastee woman who was reported missing by her father, Terry Elvis, on December 19. Her car was found at Peachtree Landing in Socastee, and the search for her has been going on ever since.


"I know that I'm trying to keep busy with it. I know that I'm doing everything that I can think of. But no matter how much it is, I feel like it's not enough that I'm doing because she's not home," Terry Elvis said.


Monica Caison and volunteers from the CUE Center for Missing Persons are helping Elvis search for his daughter, but they're also still looking for Kareem, Brittanee, Brandon and Zachary.


"You have to just continue to look, and as information comes up, whether through law enforcement or other things in the case come up, there's always another place to look. And as long as we do that, we'll have a search."


Caison said the group does have success stories, and never gives up on any of the cases they receive.

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A look back on missing persons cases after human remains discovered


Posted: Dec 30, 2013 8:02 PM EST

Updated: Dec 30, 2013 8:04 PM EST

By Mandy Noell


HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Two women were reported missing in Horry County within a week. Days later, bare-bone skeletal remains were discovered on Tidewater Road. Since the remains were found, online speculation has run rampant about who the remains may belong to.


"They're definitely human bones," said Horry County Coroner Robert Edge. "At this point, we're not sure how long they've been there, but apparently at least a year for that much decomp(osition) to have occurred."


Dating back a year, there have been four missing-person cases in the area since 2005.


Brittanee Drexel has become a household name in the Grand Strand since she disappeared while on spring break in Myrtle Beach in April 2009. The mystery surrounding the case of the then- 17-year-old made national headlines. Drexel was seen on a camera leaving her hotel on Ocean Blvd and was never seen again.


Since her disappearance, search parties have scoured the Myrtle Beach area looking for any trace of Drexel, who would be 22-years-old today, to no avail.


Crystal Soles was 28-years-old when she went missing. She was walking home from a store in Andrews in January 2005, and vanished. Like Drexel, there has been search after search conducted for Soles, many by the CUE Center, and as recent as August 2013, but she has never been found.


The last person to have seen Kareem Ward in June 2007 was his mother. According to the police report, she said he was in his car by himself. Just days after his disappearance, his car was pulled from the Little Pee Dee River. The police report said a cell phone was also in the car, but Kareem was never located.


Susan Deluca was supposed to be traveling North to visit family in April 2010, but she never made it. Her family soon reported her missing, and two months later, cadaver dogs found her car submerged, like Ward's, in the Little Pee Dee River. Like the above, Deluca's case was never solved.


It's important to know that the remains found on tidewater road might not belong to any of these people. But someone, somewhere may soon receive a bittersweet answer to a very long-awaited question.


Anyone with information on the disappearances of any of these individuals is encouraged to call the anonymous tip line, Crime Stoppers. That number is 1-888-CRIME-S-C.

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Horry Coroner says bones belong to male in his 20s

Posted: Dec 30, 2013 10:57 AM EST

Updated: Dec 31, 2013 3:23 PM EST

By Haley Hernandez

By Cuthbert Langley


The eyes of the state are focusing on Horry County after the number of missing people in that area continues to grow and now remains have been found.


Tuesday the Horry County Coroner said the bones appear to belong to a male in his 20s, confirming his belief that the bones are human.


The remains were found Sunday off Tidewater Drive near Waccamaw Boulevard in Horry County.


Officials have sent the remains to Texas instead of having them analyzed with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, as they told WBTW News it's believed experts in Texas can expedite the process.


The most recent report of a missing person came last week when 24-year-old Jamie Lynn Cross of Murrells Inlet was last seen December 23rd. She is described as having blue eyes and neon pink hair and a tattoo on her forearm with the name of her son. Cross was last seen leaving her Myrtle Beach home in her green Volkswagen.


Cross's disappearance comes less than a week after 20-year-old Heather Elvis was reported missing. Officials say there is no reason to believe the two are related.


Elvis was reported missing on December 19th after her car was discovered abandoned.


The Cue Center for Missing Persons intensified the search over the weekend, asking dozens of boaters to help search the Waccamaw River and "Intracoastal Waterway."


The founder of the Center said it is important to always keep searching, so the case can continue.


"It's vital in any missing person case to continue that journey as long as that person is missing, so they'll always be what we call, 'the next search,'" Monica Caison said.


Horry County Police Department says it looks like the remains found Sunday have been there between 4 and 5 years.


It was six years ago that 22-year-old Kareem Ward disappeared, last seen in Aynor on June 16, 2007. Ward's car was pulled from a boat landing on the Pee Dee River but he's been missing ever since.


It was four and a half years ago that New York teenager, Brittanee Drexel, disappeared during a trip to Myrtle Beach.


Zachary Malinowski of Conway also disappeared in August of this year after a basketball game. The 19-year-old's car was found burned in the woods near Aynor.


There are a total of 21 people who have reported missing in the state. Many of those are from the Charleston and Myrtle Beach areas, including Gayle McCaffery. As the years pass since someone disappeared, Caison said the search become more difficult.


"It just takes a lot more detail," she said. "A good, keen eye. Good dogs that you're working with, and people that are trained in responsible in the field to know that everything can matter."


Caison tells News 2 that many of the families of those missing have been at the location of the recent discovery. She also said they are waiting for the DNA test results from those discovered remains but are confident it will bring one of their families closure.


One of those families is that of Brittanee Drexel. Her mother, Dawn, released this statement Monday afternoon:


I would like to thank everyone for their concern and support for my daughter, Brittanee, in the recent discovery made in Horry County. There are many missing children and adults in the region who have families suffering in anticipation after this latest news and who, alongside our family, await for a resolution as well. I ask at this time to please wait for investigators to make a positive identification and be allowed to do their job.

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New search for missing Brittanee Drexel planned for Saturday

Posted: May 09, 2014 5:32 PM EDT

Updated: May 10, 2014 7:34 AM EDT

By Harve Jacobs


MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WCSC) - A new search will be launched Saturday for a woman who disappeared from Myrtle Beach five years ago.


The search for Brittanee Drexel will be conducted on private property in Georgetown County,  an area that's been searched before.


"We're basically going over some old things looking for some new leads,” said Myrtle Beach Police Captain David Knipes


Drexel was 17 years old when she disappeared in April, 2009. She was last seen on surveillance video leaving the Bluewater resort in Myrtle Beach, and walking on South Ocean Boulevard.


Drexel's face has been featured on billboards. Police say tips keep on coming in and that the case is open and active.


“There's nothing new that's come up,” said Knipes.


So far, every search for Drexel has come up empty.


There's been lots of help from several law enforcement agencies and volunteers along with the CUE Center for Missing Persons.


Just two months ago another search was launched after investigators got new cell phone data using technology that wasn't available before.


Knipes says tomorrow's new search is to make sure all bases were covered.


"There's nothing new that sparked this search. We're searching in the same areas down in the Georgetown County-Charleston County area that we searched before."


Authorities are hoping the search will turn up something that could finally bring Brittanee Drexel's family some closure.

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Updates sought for missing child data

Brian Tumulty, 7:14 a.m. EST November 14, 2014


WASHINGTON – Local detectives and missing-persons bureaus would have an easier time updating the national database on missing children under legislation that could pass the U.S. Senate during the lame-duck session that began this week.


The bill, which would reauthorize the 1974 Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act, would allow local law enforcement to update records in the National Crime Information Center without obtaining prior approval from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children or the originating agency.


A total of 10,312 children were reported missing in 2013 in upstate New York and the Hudson Valley, and 1,269 of those cases were still active at the end of last year, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Thursday.


"As the current system stands, the federal government is tying one hand behind the backs of the hard-working and highly skilled law enforcement and missing-children units that dedicate their lives to bringing home our children," Schumer said.


Some of the most highly publicized cases include Brittanee Drexel of Chili, who was 17 when she disappeared in Myrtle Beach, S.C., during spring break in 2009, and Sara Anne Wood of Herkimer County, who was 12 when she disappeared in 1993.


In January, Schumer and Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio proposed the Bringing Missing Children Home Act to streamline how cases involving missing children are handled.


Many of their proposals have been made part of the reauthorization bill, which the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 15-to-3 to approve in September.


That bipartisan legislation, which is awaiting a floor vote in the lame-duck session, would change, from 60 days to 30 days, the time that law enforcement officials have to post a photograph of a missing child in the national database.


It also would change the term "child prostitution" to "child sex trafficking" to reflect that underage children engaged in the sex trade are "sexually exploited victims, not criminals."

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6 years of sleepless nights: Mom calls for answers in daughter's disappearance



Posted: Apr 24, 2015 2:27 PM PST
Updated: Apr 24, 2015 3:25 PM PST
By Stephanie Robusto

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Nearly six years to the day of her daughter's disappearance, Dawn Drexel plans to honor her daughter, Brittanee.

The teenager was last seen at the Blue Water Resort in Myrtle Beach while visiting the Grand Strand with friends from Rochester, NY. In the days leading up to her getting there, her mom continued to tell her not to go to Myrtle Beach.

“I knew something was going to happen, that's why I didn't want her to come,” shared Dawn Drexel. You could call it a mother's intuition. Dawn Drexel recalls feeling a sense of dread when her daughter, Brittanee talked about going to Myrtle Beach for a week. However, Brittanee seemed set on coming here, which makes Dawn believe her daughter was promised something. Perhaps a meeting with a modeling agent, because it simply doesn't make sense to her that a teenager could disappear from a busy boulevard.

“She didn't have permission to come here, ended up coming anyways. She was only here, for what, 60 hours? And she vanished,” Drexel said. There are cameras on the boulevard, but Dawn was told by detectives they simply weren't working the day her daughter went missing. “Had they been working, you may have seen my daughter get into a vehicle or something?” Drexel wondered.

The lack of evidence makes her question the accountability of law enforcement. “I've been so patient with them, worked on Brittanee's case for six years and for them to have nothing...” she expressed. She believes law enforcement should be accountable for the safety of visitors, and that a teenager should be able to walk down the boulevard without worrying.

She also questions if the initial investigators collected all of the evidence they could. “They say they're still working on it, getting tips and things, but they're unable to tell me anything,” Brittanee's mom said.

Lieutenant Crosby with the Myrtle Beach Police Department said, “There is constant communication going on back and forth with everyone who has been involved.” As a father, Lt. Crosby understands Dawn's frustration. As a police officer involved on this case since day one, he understands her drive to find Brittanee.

“Brittanee was Dawn's daughter, and she's missing, and we understand the pain that she's feeling. We want to resolve this case for her and give her some closure,” he said. It is rare, according to Lt. Crosby, for the agency to keep a case open for this many years. In addition, he pointed out this is the only case he is aware of that a teen has vanished on Ocean Boulevard.

“Three years ago they thought they were close to making an arrest. Now, it's three years later and there is just no accountability,” Drexel said. She at least wants to see suspects cleared from the investigation to show movement in the case.

Lt. Crosby explained his department keeps those suspects on the list so they remain in the front of the detective's mind when investigating the case.

Frustration aside, Dawn Drexel plans to honor her daughter on Saturday. A march in Brittanee's name will begin at the Bar Harbor Hotel, and trace her last known steps to the Blue Water Resort. At that location, a candlelight vigil will be held. The event begins at 7:30 p.m., and is open to the public, rain or shine.

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Myrtle Beach police assign new detective to Brittanee Drexel case

Ettie Newlands
Updated Feb 4, 2016

A new detective has been assigned to the Brittanee Drexel case, because the detective who has been covering it has been promoted to sergeant.

The then-17-year-old Drexel disappeared from Myrtle Beach in April 2009 while on spring break from Rochester, N.Y.

The pretty blonde has not been seen since leaving the Bluewater Resort in the 2000 block of South Ocean Boulevard around 8:10 p.m. April 25, 2009. No charges have ever been filed in the case.

Lt. Joey Crosby of the Myrtle Beach Police Department said, “The lead investigator on that case [Det. Steven Clothier] has been promoted to sergeant, and that takes him into the patrol division. Therefore, another investigator [Det. Jeremiah Beam], has been assigned to the case.”

Crosby said the Drexel case is still open.

“Open means we are constantly seeking any and all information related to this investigation,” he said. “We are assessing the information we have currently and evaluating and investigating any new information that we get.”

Crosby said there has been no new information in the Drexel case.

He said a case is not closed until “there is no additional evidence to examine and no resolution to the case.”

He added there is no timetable on that, and no limit on the time a case may stay open.

About the Brittanee Drexel case, Crosby said, “We still consider it active because we are still actively seeking to resolve this investigation.”

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Report: FBI agent says Brittanee Drexel was kidnapped, shot and dumped in alligator pit

By WPDE Friday, August 26th 2016

(WPDE) -- The Post and Courier of Charleston is reporting an FBI agent has testified that Brittanee Drexel, who disappeared from Myrtle Beach seven years ago while on spring break, was kidnapped, raped, shot and then her dead body was put into a swamp filled with alligators near McClellanville.

"FBI agent Gerrick Munoz this week gave the first detailed account of what investigators think happened to 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel after she disappeared in 2009. His account, contained in a federal court transcript obtained by The Post and Courier, is based on a statement from a prison inmate who claims he was present when she was killed," says the posting on the Post and Courier's website.

ABC15 News is working to gather the information needed to confirm this report and will update this story as details come in to the newsroom.

In June, the FBI held a news conference and said Drexel was taken from Myrtle Beach to the McClellanville area, where she was held for a few days against her will and then was killed.

The FBI appealed to the McClellanville community, south of Georgetown, for information about the teen's disappearance and death.

Drexel went missing from Myrtle Beach on April 25, 2009 and was last seen on surveillance cameras leaving the Blue Water Resort on Ocean Boulevard to go back to the motel where she was staying, but she never made it there.

The lead investigator later said in that news conference that they did not know how she was killed.

We reached out to Dawn Drexel, Brittanee Drexel's mother, for comment and she referred us to her attorney, Brad Conway. Conway said "I'm just getting this information and looking into it."

Myrtle Beach police officials said they were just getting the information as well and would not be releasing any comment.

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