In Spring 2009, Brittanee Drexel went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and never returned to her New York home. Recently, from criminal testimony and new evidence, police were finally able to determine her whereabouts.
1. A Good Kid
Brittanee Drexel was like many other 17-year-old girls. She was beautiful and had big dreams. The star high school soccer player was looking forward to graduating and continuing her education at cosmetology school. She lived with her parents and siblings in Chili, New York. She also had a long-term boyfriend, John Greico.
2. Distinct Birth Defect
Unknown to most, Brittanee had a birth defect. She had an eye disease that casts shadows in her eye sight, called Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous. She needed numerous surgeries to control her condition. It was something her mother made known during many press conferences. However, her condition never stopped her and she continued to live her teenage life happily and a little bit on the wild side – including planning that fateful spring break trip.
3. Lying To Her Mother
Britanne had planned a trip to Myrtle Beach, along with some of her friends for spring break. However, her mother did not allow her to go. Her mother, Dawn, told her she did not know the friends she would be traveling with. Dawn also had mother’s intuition and felt in her gut something could go awry. Brittanee asked her mom if she could go to a friends close by, in Charlotte Beach instead – her mother agreed. Unfortunately, Brittanee had still planned to go to Myrtle Beach all along.
4. Last Words To Mom
Dawn had figured Brittanee had respected her wishes. Brittanee even called her mother the day she arrived in Myrtle Beach. However, Brittanee kept up the act and told her mom she was at the beach, In New York, and she was going to watch a movie and stay in with her friends later on. The last thing she said to her mother was “I’ll see you tomorrow. I love you.” Brittanee never saw her Mom the next day.
5. Secret Getaway
Brittanee did in fact go to Myrtle Beach. Simultaneously, Peter Brozowitz, a club promoter from Rochester, and four of his other friends, also decided to join her. They all were going to stay at the Bluewater Hotel on Ocean Boulevard. The 4 friends, told police they had briefly met Brittanee before, but they did not really know her. The 5 met on the beach for the first time near the hotel.
6. 60 Hour Vacation
Brittanee Drexel was also joined by three of her friends: Jennifer Oberer, Phillip Oberer and Allana Lippa. They were staying in room 301 of the Bar Harbor Resort at the 100 block of North Ocean Boulevard. She was only on her Spring Break vacation for 60 hours before she vanished. A chilling video (still shot below) has surfaced of Brittanee in her room the night before she disappeared.
7. Left The Hotel And Never Returned
On the night of April 25, 2009, Brittanee left her hotel onto Ocean Boulevard. She was reported to be heading towards a hotel close-by where a friend of hers, Peter, was staying. At 8:15pm, there is surveillance video of Brittanee leaving her hotel (pictured below). At 8:48pm, Brittanee is caught on video surveillance, leaving, her friend’s hotel. According to him, she left the hotel after receiving a text from her friend whose shorts she had borrowed.
8. Unreplied Texts
Throughout the night, it was reported she had been texting her boyfriend, John. She said she was beginning to feel alienated from her friends, as they were doing drugs. She messaged her boyfriend after she left her hotel, she even texts him about the shorts she borrowed and how her friend wanted them back. She tells him she will most likely pack and go to bed when she gets back to her hotel. He replies with “Why?” A text that is never answered.
9. Boyfriend Senses Trouble
At 9:03 the last surveillance footage of Britanne is seen walking by a traffic camera. When John’s text of “Why?” goes unanswered he begins to panic. He steadily continues to text and starts to call her. It was very unlike Brittanee to not respond. Now, John is very worried and he decided it was time to tell her mother, Dawn, of Brittanee’s real whereabouts. Her boyfriend and mother get on a plane that night and report her missing to local police.
10. Last Technological Contact
At 9:27pm, Brittanee’s cell phone pings to a cell tower, in Surfside Beach. Surfside Beach is 7 miles south of Myrtle beach. However, Brittanee’s hotel was north. At 11:58pm, her cell phone pings again to a cell tower once again, south of Myrtle Beach.
Brittanee’s last cell phone ping, at 11:58pm was 50 miles South of Myrtle beach. This was the last time her cell phones pings, which could be due to a removed battery or a turned off phone. As we know, she left the hotel by foot, therefore, she must have been in a car – all signs leading to a suspected abduction.
12. The Search Begins
After her mother and boyfriend reported her missing, the search for Brittanee began. They searched the area between the two hotels, up and down Ocean Boulevard, and along the beach. Police searched as far as Georgetown and Charleston county. Her family members began to hand out missing flyers. At one point police went to Georgetown High School to questions students after a tip. The police soon began to come up with suspects. The case eventually declared a homicide.
13. The Search Continues
In the beginning, people looked for Brittanne 11 days straight – from sun up to sundown. For the first 5 or 6 months, there were large search parties of 200-500 people. One weekend , there was an upward of 800 people searching Myrtle Beach and the surrounding areas. However, they had no luck. They searched a radius as far as 60 miles, and cadaver dogs were eventually introduced. However, the police eventually gathered enough evidence to have their first “person of interest.”
14. Suspect One
Peter Brozowitz, the club promoter from Rochester, New York, was one of the first suspects. Borowitz checked out the Bluewater Hotel in Myrtle Beach around 2am, the night Brittanee disappeared. He left behind all of his belongings and his $100 hotel deposit. The day Britanne went missing she had meet Brozowitz and his friends on the beach in the morning and around 8pm in their hotel room – not long before Brittanee vanished.
15. Peter Says He’s Innocent
After Peter Brozowitz became a person of interest in Brittanee’s case. He quickly reached out to the media to broadcast his innocence. He appeared on the “Dr. Phil” show, and would deny anything to do with Brittanee’s appearance even though he was the last one to see her before she disappeared. Unfortunately, no hard evidence was found and none of the 5 men were charged. Police kept searching for a new suspect.
16. Mental Instability
After some time had passed, information came out that Brittanee was mentally unstable due to a recent depression. Her parents were getting a divorce and she was having a hard time dealing with it. Her mom also had a theory that she could have possibly been lured to Myrtle Beach by a possible modeling job. Brittanne had always wanted to model and due to her vulnerable state she could have been easily convinced.
Brittanee’s mom, Dawn, seemed to have a very intuitive mother’s instinct. Along with modeling, she believed it was possible that the lure of a modeling job was actually a way to catch women to put into human trafficking. Myrtle Beach is a major hotspot for human trafficking hubs. Between 1997-2010, there were 12 documented cases of documented sex trafficking in South Carolina. It could possibly be Dawns worse nightmare.
18. Person Of Interest Two
After years of searching, the police discovered more evidence and released information about another person of interest, 51-year-old Raymond Moody. Raymond had stayed in a local Georgetown hotel around the same time Brittanee was in Myrtle Beach. Moody also received a traffic ticket in Surfside Beach, the day after Brittanee disappeared.
19. Why Randy Moody?
Moody is an Adult Tier III Offender who was convicted in 1983 of rape by force, kidnapping and lewd act on a child under 14, among other charges. He was also being looked at by authorities in connection with a 28-year-old missing woman. As he was in the area around the same time Brittanee was on Break, it’s no wonder police began to investigate him.
20. Unexpected Break In The Case
It has been over 7 years since Brittanee disappeared, but in 2016, information about Brittanee’s case came from an unexpected source. Taquan Brown (pictured below), is currently serving a 25-year sentence for the voluntary manslaughter, from a different case. He came forward with a confession that lead to the shocking discovery of what most likely happened to Brittanee the night she disappeared. FBI Agent Gerrick Munoz corroborated the inmate’s story with other secondhand information he had gathered.
21. The Disturbing Confession
Taquan Brown told a story that is hard for most people to hear. It begins when he was going to visit a ‘stash house,’ a place where criminals will keep much of their illegal loot: guns, drugs, and money. He said the house was in the McClellanville area of South Carolina. This was the same area where Brittanee’s phone had last sent out a ping in 2009. He continued to tell the last moments of her life.
22. She Tried To Get Away
Brown told officials he went to the ‘stash house,’ to meet with Shaun Taylor. Upon arrival he saw, then 16-year-old Da’Shaun Taylor, and several other men were sexually abusing Brittanee Drexel. As Brown was giving Shaun Taylor (Da’Shaun’s father) money and as they were talking, Brittanee tried to run away. However, she was caught by her captor and was “pistol-whipped,” then carried back inside. Brown then heard 2 gunshots. The last time he saw her body, she was being wrapped up and removed from the house.
23. More Information Revealed
There was another inmate that also came forward with more information, told to Agent Munoz, that helped corroborate Brown’s story. The unnamed inmate, who got the account secondhand, said the Da’Shaun Taylor (pictured below) had somehow manipulated Brittanee into going from Myrtle Beach, where he met her, to McClellanville. Da’Shaun then “showed her off, introduced her to some other friends that were there … they ended up tricking her out with some of their friends, offering her to them and getting a human trafficking situation.”
24. Fed To The Gators
The lead FBI investigator Gerrick Munoz said once the body was taken out of the house, it was taken to a place that it would never be found. From Brown’s and other’s testimony Munoz believes Brittanee’s body was dumped into a lake nearby. Agents have checked multiple alligator ponds, and there are reported 40 in the area. Unfortunately, a body has not been recovered.
25. Why Would Brown Come Forward?
It is very possible that Brown’s confession may not be true. His confession can be considered a jailhouse confession or essentially a false confession. As stated before, Brown is currently serving 25 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter. It is possible he fabricated the story, in order to receive a reduced prison sentence.
26. Taylor Makes Bail
Although Taylor originally confessed to the getaway crime, police are currently attempting to charge him with parallel offenses. However, a judge decided there was not enough evidence against him and he was released on $10,000 bail. According to court records, his attorney has said just because the police want “to squeeze him” and pressure him into confessing because “some jailhouse rat has come up with a story.”
27. Dad May Have Confronted Killer
Chad Drexel, Brittanee’s father, also joined the rest of his family in Myrtle Beach to pass out flyers, when Brittanee first went missing. He has said he may have unknowingly handed a flyer to his daughter’s alleged killer. Chad was walking down the middle of a dirt road, searching for his daughter and passing out flyers. A car stopped as he was in the way, and he went to hand them a flyer. The driver crumpled it up, laughed, and continued driving. Chad says that man was Da’Shaun Taylor.
28. FBI Continues Searching Myrtle Beach
Police searched the local pond and there was absolutely no evidence of Brittanee’s body. It is very clear, the FBI believes that Brittanee has been murdered. However, without a body her family is still holding onto hope that she may still be alive. Brittanee’s Mom planted a tree in honor of Brittanee in Myrtle Beach.
29. Age Progression Photo Released
Brittanee’s mom, Dawn, also moved to Myrtle Beach as it helps her feel connected to her missing daughter. She is now the state director and board member for the CUE Center, the nonprofit that helps organize searches for missing people, including some for Brittanee Drexel. Dawn still has hope as her daughter’s body has still not been found. Below is an age progression photo, or a photo of what Brittanee may look like today.
30. No One Has Been Charged
The father and son duo reported in Brown’s testimony are still just suspects. Unfortunately, with no hard evidence against them, they can not be officially charged. In attempts to get Da’Shaun to cooperate in the Drexel case, he is currently being held on additional charges related to being a getaway driver in a robbery in 2011.
31. Big Reward For More Information
Myrtle Beach police are still doing the best investigation possible in order to find out the truth of Brittanee’s disappearance. They have conducted hundreds of interviews and followed many leads. However, they are still offering $25,000 reward for any information that may lead to a conviction. They will also charge anyone who information and has not come forward.
32. Family Proclaim Taylor’s Innocence
Da’Shaun Taylor’s attorney has said there has been no evidence linking his client to the missing teen, and police only brought Taylor into court in order to manipulate him to cooperate with the Drexel investigation. Da’Shaun’s mother, Joan Taylor (pictured below), has stated authorities are just “trying to pin” something on her son. She has also stated it is not in her husband’s and son’s nature to commit such a crime.
33. Da’Shaun Denies Everything
Da’Shaun Taylor has told several media outlets that Brown is lying and he never met Brittanee. In an interview with News10NBC he denied everything. He said he had never met Brittanee, he was not in Myrtle Beach during the night of her disappearance, denies his father’s involvement with the case, and he was in school during the times the testimony describes.
34. Taylor Had Taken A Lie Detector Test In 2009
Da’Shaun Taylor also told News10NBC that he had taken a lie detector test in 2009. The test had questions regarding Brittanee – if they had ever met, if he knew where she was, and many more concerning Brittanee. Taylor says, at the time of the lie detector test, police said everything was fine and would reach back out to him, if needed. However, he did not hear back from police again until 2016.
35. A Father’s Rebuttal
Brittanee’s father, Chad, released a written statement with his feelings about the recent claims of innocence by the Taylor family. Needless to say, Chad was very angry and distraught. He took a lot of offense to Joan Taylor saying her son is a “good kid.” Chad said that Da’Shaun was connected to the same spot where Brittanee’s DNA was once found. He also claimed he had hired private investigators who found more evidence that will certainly convict Da’Shaun.
36. Lead Investigator Publicly Refutes Da’Shaun’s Claims
After Da’Shaun Taylor’s appearance on “Dr. Phil,” former lead investigator of Brittanee’s case, Chris Bailey, spoke out to 13WHAM News, in order to discredit Da’Shaun’s claims of innocence. Bailey has said the Da’Shaun had several inaccuracies in his interview. Da’Shaun was asked if Brittanee’s father, Chad, actually handed him a missing flier. Da’Shaun denies this ever happening. However, Bailey saw Chad give Da’Shaun a flier. Bailey believes if he is lying about that, he could be lying about anything.
37. Taylor Family Connected To Other Murders
In 2001, Shaun Taylor’s brother, and Da’Shaun Taylor’s uncle, Randall Keith Taylor was arrested and charged with the abduction, rape, and murder for 19-year-old Shannon McConaughey (pictured below). Shannon disappeared in January 1998. However, like with Brittanee’s case, there was not enough evidence and charges had to be dropped. However, because of recent developments and similar links to Brittanee’s case, police have reopened Shannon McConaughey case. However, Shaun Taylor also had a similar experience.
38. Father Involved With Botched Abduction
In 2010, a year after Brittanee’s disappearance, Shaun Taylor turned himself in after a warrant for his arrest was released. He was to face charges of attempted kidnapping and first degree assault. A woman was on Ocean Boulevard when she was approached by three men who attempted to kidnap her. Two men jumped out of a van and tried to grab her, she was able to elbow one of them in the face, and get away. The woman picked Shaun out of a line-up. However, charges against Shaun were dropped.
39. A Criminal Defending A Criminal
In January 2017, the South Carolina Attorney, Mark Peper, who is defending Da’Shaun Taylor in the case was arrested. The Post and Courier newspaper in Charleston reported the defense attorney was arrested for driving under the influence and possession of cocaine. The 38-year-old was pulled over, on Savannah Highway, shortly before 2 a.m, on January 2nd. It would make sense that an attorney, who could make such criminal mistakes, could possibly defend an alleged murderer.
40. A Light In The Darkness
In September of 2016, Brittanee’s mother, Dawn, founded “Brittanee’s Little Angels.” The mission of the foundation is to provide long-term advocacy services and support to families of missing people and human trafficking victims. Dawn never received any closure since her daughter went missing in 2009, and she hopes no family has to deal with the same pain she has. You can find out more and donate to the organization on their website.
41. Influence After Her Disappearance
Some of Brittanee’s friends are still very hopeful to find answers about her disappearance. One of her best friends, Tarah Friedman, believes every new day is one step closer to finding the truth about what happened to her. Tarah was one of the many who went down to Myrtle Beach to search for her friend, for several months. Tarah says Brittanee still remained a big influence in her life, as she has chosen to study law and hopes to become a prosecutor. In light of the recent testimony emerges, she feels there are people out there who may come forward with more information.