In 2009, Brittanee Drexel was reported missing after she failed to return home from a trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. On Friday, the FBI reported that a prison inmate claimed he was present as the teen was raped, killed, and thrown into an alligator pit. A look back at her last days reveals a mother’s premonition that sadly, came true.
For years, Drexel’s family members have held out hope that the missing teen, then 17, would be found alive. The recent chilling details, which came from a federal court transcript, is, of course, devastating to those who’ve been hanging on for answers about the teen who seemingly disappeared into thin air.
Drexel, originally from Rochester, New York, was on spring break vacation when she vanished from Myrtle Beach’s Ocean Boulevard on April 25, 2009. Authorities pinged her pink cellphone and it bounced off of a tower near Georgetown and Charleston County, close to the Pole Yard Boat Landing, 50 miles away from Myrtle Beach.
Prior to her disappearance, Drexel texted her boyfriend, John Greico, and told him she was going back to her hotel at the Bluewater Resort, where she planned to sleep for the night before heading back home to New York. That was the last text ever made from her phone. Greico, who was in Rochester at the time, said he’d texted and talked with Drexel throughout the day. Then, at around 9:15 p.m., she suddenly stopped responding to him.
Drexel a student at Gates-Chili High School in Chili, New York, fibbed to her parents about going to Myrtle Beach. They thought she went to Charlotte Beach in New York State. Apparently, Drexel’s mother warned her about taking a trip out of state, and rather than argue, the teen placated her mom and said she’s day in-state.
My Horry News reports that Drexel spoke with her mother, Dawn Drexel, on the day that she left, and then again on the day after. On the day she was to return back home, Drexel texted her mother and told her she loved her.
“Mom, I’ll see you tomorrow, I love you.”
Despite lying to her parents about her whereabouts, a common trait among numerous teens her age, Drexel was considered a great friend, student, and child. She had no known enemies and there was no reason to believe that anyone would kidnap and harm her. Regardless, Dawn Drexel had a premonition that something would happen to her daughter if she went to Myrtle Beach.
“I told her I didn’t know the kids, there was no parental supervision, and I told her if she came to Myrtle Beach, something would happen to her.”
Drexel initially thought her daughter was a victim of sexual trafficking, and it seems that her mother’s intuition may have been correct. The FBI report indicates that Drexel was likely taken by a South Carolina man named Shaun Taylor, and Taylor’s then teenage son, Timothy Da’Shaun Taylor, 16. The suspect’s names came about when inmate Taquan Brown told authorities that his friends were trying to “trick Drexel out.” Post and Courier reporter Doug Pardue said the following.
“The [alleged witness] said that they showed off this girl to several friends and then the friends tried to trick her out to other people to have sex with her.”
FBI Agent Gerrick Munoz stated that Brown told him he went to a “stash house,” where he saw Drexel for the first time. The inmate said she was being sexually assaulted by Timothy Taylor and a few other men. Brown told Munoz he saw several men walking to the back of the house and handing money to Shaun Taylor. Brown claimed he tried to run away when he figured out what was going on, but he was pistol-whipped and dragged back into the house.
Shortly after, Brown said he heard two gunshots. He assumed that someone killed Drexel. Later, her body was wrapped up and taken from the home.
Munoz said her remains still haven’t been found, but that “several witnesses have told us Miss Drexel’s body was placed in a pit, or gator pit, to have her body disposed of. Eaten by the gators.”
The stash house, as well as numerous nearby alligator ponds, were searched. So far, Drexel’s remains haven’t been found.
The Democrat & Chronicle reports that the new information came out in the midst of a bond hearing against D’Shaun Taylor. While his attorney argued that the charge Taylor faced was “clearly nothing but a squeeze-job,” an FBI agent gave testimony on the information provided to him about Drexel’s disappearance.
The FBI is currently offering a $25,000 reward for information on the case that leads to the arrest of the responsible. Currently, no one is charged with Brittanee Drexel’s murder. Anyone with information should call (800) Call-FBI (255-5324).
[Image via Myrtle Beach PD/Handout]