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Search for Brittanee Drexel now a pursuit for justice says mother after remains are found

This undated photo provided by the Myrtle Beach, S.C., Police Department shows Brittanee Drexel. The New York teenager disappeared during a spring break trip to Myrtle Beach in 2009.
Myrtle Beach Police Department
via Associated Press
This undated photo provided by the Myrtle Beach Police Department shows Brittanee Drexel, the New York teenager who disappeared during spring break in 2009.

The mystery of what happened to Brittanee Drexel may finally be unraveled now that authorities have found the remains of the New York teenager 30 miles away from where she vanished during spring break more than a decade ago.

In a room packed with press, law enforcement and family members, authorities confirmed Monday what had been speculated for days. A body found in a wooded area last week near Georgetown was that of the then 17-year-old. It was identified through dental records.

What’s more, a man taken into custody May 4 by the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Department is now charged with murder, kidnapping and rape in connection with Drexel’s disappearance. Arrest warrants say 62-year-old Raymond Moody strangled the teenager April 25, 2009, the night she was last seen leaving a Myrtle Beach hotel. Authorities say he has confessed to killing Brittanee and gave them information that lead to the teenager's remains.

Raymond Moody arrested by Georgetown County Sheriff's Department for obstruction of justice May 4, 2022.
Georgetown County Sheriff's Department
Raymond Moody arrested by Georgetown County Sheriff's Department for obstruction of justice May 4, 2022.

“This is truly a mother’s worst nightmare,” Dawn Drexel told reporters. “I am mourning my beautiful daughter today as I have for the last 13 years.”

The Drexel family thanked law enforcement for their tireless pursuit and the press for helping bring in leads by sharing Brittanee’s story. But they declined to take questions, asking for privacy while they mourn.

“Today marks the beginning of a new chapter,” said Dawn Drexel. “The search for Brittanee is now a pursuit of her justice.”

Authorities say Moody has an extensive record as a sex offender.

Victoria Hansen is our Lowcountry connection covering the Charleston community, a city she knows well. She grew up in newspaper newsrooms and has worked as a broadcast journalist for more than 20 years. Her first reporting job brought her to Charleston where she covered local and national stories like the Susan Smith murder trial and the arrival of the Citadel’s first female cadet.