The case of a New York teen who went missing while on vacation in Myrtle Beach seven years ago is now being investigated as a murder.
David Thomas, a special agent in charge with the Columbia FBI office, said that the agency believes 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel was held against her will in the McClellanville area for several days before she was killed. Officers would not say whether the remains of Drexel were ever found or exactly why they believe she is no longer alive.
Investigators also wouldn’t comment on whether or not sex trafficking may have been involved in the case, but Thomas did say they believe she was seen by more than one person while she was in the area.
At a press conference in McClellanville on Wednesday, Thomas said the FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for anyone with information that can lead them to Drexel’s killer.
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An attorney for the Drexel family, Bradley Conway, said that the family didn’t learn that Brittanee Drexel had been killed until they were told by officers on Tuesday. Conway said the last few days have been real hard for the family, who declined to talk to the media after the conference.
The family previously told The Sun News Drexel came to Myrtle Beach without the knowledge or permission of her parents on a spring break trip with a group of friends. She was last seen by her friends on April 25, 2009, when leaving the Blue Water Hotel on Ocean Boulevard.
Seven years later, Drexel’s family still holds annual vigils in her honor and the family continues to ask anyone with information about the case to come forward.
An unlit candle, a teddy bear, flowers and other tokens of remembrance were placed around a tree Tuesday in Grand Park near the Market Common. The family planted “Britt’s Tree” in her honor.
Police and CUE Center for Missing Persons searched areas in Georgetown and Charleston counties after learning Drexel’s cellphone gave off its last known signal on April 26, 2009, in Georgetown County. Bikers helped, too. In 2009, investigators searched a Georgetown motel room for her.
Tips come in on a weekly basis and police continue to investigate the case, according to Lt. Joey Crosby with the Myrtle Beach Police Department.
But no arrests have been made and no leads have led officers to Drexel’s killer yet.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Myrtle Beach Police Department at 843-918-1382 or the CUE Center for Missing Persons’ 24-hour tip line at 910-232-1687.