There is new information on a headline-grabbing case out of South Carolina – A 17-year-old high school soccer star goes missing, and what investigators believe happened to her is the stuff of horror movies, according to Crime Watch Daily.
On the night of April 25, 2009, Brittanee Drexel walked out of a hotel and was never seen or heard from again.
It all started with a lie
For weeks before her disappearance, Brittanee had been bugging her mother about going to Myrtle Beach with some friends for spring break.
“And, I told her, I said ‘No, Brittanee,”said Dawn Drexel. “She goes ‘Why? Nothing’s gonna happen to me, Mom.’ I said ‘Brittanee, there’s no parental supervision. I don’t know these kids you’re going with,’ and I said ‘Something’s going to happen to you.”
So, Brittanee asked mom if she could spend a few days at a friend’s home nearby in Rochester, New York.
“They had put this person on the phone, and I thought I was talking to a parent and I told her she could stay since, you know, it was her spring break,” Dawn said.
But, it wasn’t a parent.
Brittanee hopped in a car with three girlfriends and snuck off to Myrtle Beach.
And, Brittanee would maintain the charade by phone right up to the day of her disappearance.
“I said ‘What are you doing later on?’ She said ‘We’re just gonna watch a movie and we’re just gonna hang out,’” Dawn said. “She says ‘I’ll see you tomorrow. I love you.’ And, I told her I love her too, and that was the last time I talked to her.”
Then, tomorrow came, and Dawn would learn the truth in the worst way imaginable, getting a call from Brittanee’s boyfriend, who had stayed behind in Rochester.
“He’s like ‘She’s in Myrtle Beach and they can’t find her,’” Dawn said. “And, I’m like ‘What? What do you mean they can’t find her?’ And, my heart just sank. I thought she was here the whole time, and I felt in my heart she had made this decision that may have cost her her life.”
As investigators start piecing together the final moments Brittanee was seen, a troubling timeline starts to emerge.
The last time Brittanee was seen was on security video showing her walking into a hotel where a male friend was staying, then leaving about 15 minutes later and walking toward the main road.
She was never seen again
Now, more than seven years after Brittanee disappeared, a dramatic break in the case: Taquan Brown, a prison inmate serving 25 years for manslaughter in an unrelated case, told investigators he personally witnessed what happened to Brittanee, saying she was kidnapped, gang-raped, pistol-whipped and shot dead by several men led by Da’Shaun Taylor of McClellanville.
And, what Britanee’s abductors are said to have done with her body after killing her is gruesome beyond belief: investigators believe her body was dumped in a swampy area filled with alligators.
But, Taylor, 25, denied, in an interview with Crime Watch Daily, he had anything to do with Brittanee’s disappearance.
He said the same of Brown, the inmate who accuses him of killing her.
“I don’t even know the guy,” Taylor said.
It just so happens, a year after Brittanee vanished, Taylor’s father, Shaun, was actually arrested for allegedly trying to abduct another young woman in the same location Brittanee vanished.
The FBI has charged Taylor in an unrelated armed robbery, and his attorney said he has an incentive to tell all he knows about Brittanee’s case.
Not enough evidence
FBI Special Agent Mike Connelly concedes there is not enough evidence to charge Taylor in Brittanee’s disappearance.
“There’s so much I can’t say about this investigation, and the reason being it’s really at a sensitive point right now,” Connelly said.
Connelly believes he will eventually bring Brittanee’s family the closure they want.
“There are people out there who know what happened to Brittanee,” Connelly said. “We’re going to work as long as it takes until we can solve this case.”
The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for Brittanee’s disappearance.
If you have information, call 800-CALL-FBI.
Dawn has started a nonprofit organization called “Brittanee’s Little Angels” to help families of missing children and children believed to be trafficked.
There is new information on Timothy Da’Shaun Taylor, a longtime suspect in the disappearance of Chili teen Brittanee Drexel, according to reports.
Taylor pleaded guilty to federal robbery charges Wednesday in unrelated robbery case from 2011.
According to The Post and Courier, federal prosecutors offered him a plea deal which had little to no jail time if he passed a polygraph test concerning the murder of Drexel.
Taylor failed the polygraph. Prosecutors are now seeking a sentence of 10 to 20 years.
Taylor’s lawyer rejected the polygraph and alleged that Taylor passed a different polygraph that he arranged.
Drexel was 17 when she disappeared during a spring break trip to Myrtle Beach in 2009. She was last seen on a hotel security camera and her body has not been found.
In March, the FBI ended a renewed search effort for the remains of Drexel in South Carolina.
Last year, an informant told FBI agents that he had seen Drexel and Taylor at a stash house in McClellanville, South Carolina. An FBI agent testified that evidence suggested Drexel’s last days were filled with violence. She was allegedly beaten, raped, shot and left to be eaten by alligators.
Mark Peper, an attorney for Taylor, says federal investigators are using his client’s robbery charge to pressure him to give information he does not have, according to WCBD.
“We couldn’t provide the FBI or the Drexel family anything beneficial to her whereabouts and we’ve been kind of of punished,” Peper said to WCBD.
The U.S. Attorney’s office says they have not ruled out Taylor’s connection to the Drexel case, reported WCBD.