Brittanee Drexel Suspects May Be Linked To Earlier Murder Of South Carolina Woman, Police Say — Family Has Troubling History

Family members of a “main suspect” in the disappearance of New York teen Brittanee Drexel seven years ago may be connected to other crimes against young women in South Carolina, police now believe — including the abduction and murder of 19-year-old Shannon McConaughey in 1998, according to a report in the Charleston Post and Courier newspaper.

Timothy Da’Shaun Taylor, pictured above right, is said to be the main suspect in what investigators now believe was the brutal rape and murder of Drexel, who was 17 years old when she vanished from Spring Break trip in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on April 25, 2009.

According to Drexel’s father Chad Drexel, who spoke to WHEC TV in the Drexel family’s hometown of Rochester, New York, Taylor has been considered a likely suspect in the disappearance of his daughter for the full seven years that she has been missing.

But in court documents revealed on Tuesday, the FBI now says that a prison informant, Taquan Brown, has admitted to being present in a drug dealer’s “stash house,” where he says he saw Taylor raping Brittanee Drexel. Later, the informant claims he heard two gunshots, which he believes were fired by Taylor’s father, Shaun Taylor, and he then saw the teen girl’s lifeless body being carried out the drug house.

The FBI in the court records says that agents believe they have pieced together what happened next from other witness accounts. They paint a horrifying picture of Da’Shaun Taylor or his accomplices disposing of Brittanee’s body by throwing her into a swamp filled with alligators.

But the documents also say that FBI agents have searched about 40 alligator pits in the area, as well as the “stash house” identified by Taquan Brown, and have discovered no trace of Brittanee Drexel’s remains.

They also say that Taylor planned to force Drexel into prostitution, but once her case received widespread publicity, they allegedly killed her instead.

Taylor denies any involvement with the killing of Brittanee Drexel, and also denies knowing Taquan Brown, issuing the denials through his lawyer on Wednesday.

Taylor’s mother, 44-year-old Joan Taylor, also denies the FBI allegations, calling Brown’s jailhouse story “craziness.” She said that her husband, Shaun Taylor, is a former merchant seaman and now a truck driver, and that he is “fed up” with the allegations against him.

She also said that the FBI’s new allegations against her son Timothy Da’Shaun Taylor are part of an FBI plan to force him to give information relating to a separate crime — an armed robbery in which he was already convicted as an accomplice.

Joan Taylor tells her side of the story to the Post and Courier in the video below.

But local police not only do not buy the denials, they say they are now taking a fresh look at the attempted abduction of a 20-year-old woman on a street in Myrtle Beach in 2010, 15 months after the disappearance if Brittanee Drexel. The crime took place just blocks from the hotel where Brittanee was last seen alive.

According to the Post and Courier report, Shaun Taylor, now 43 years old, was cleared of that crime because police said surveillance video showed him at another location during the time of the attempted abduction. But Myrtle Beach Police Captain David Knipes told the paper that “we have looked at this case again” in light of the new allegations in the alleged murder of Brittanee Drexel.

But that’s not all for the Taylor family.

In 2001, Randall Keith Taylor, now 48 and the older brother of Shaun Taylor as well as uncle to Timothy Da’Shaun Taylor, was arrested and charged in the abduction, rape, and fatal shooting of 19-year old Shannon McConaughey of St. Stephen, South Carolina, another horrifying crime which took place in January of 1998.

Murder victim Shannon McConaughey, seen in a police handout photo.

But Randall Taylor was never tried, after prosecutors said they didn’t have enough evidence, and they dropped the charges.

Now police are taking a fresh look at the murder of Shannon McConaughey as well.

“We have looked at that case a number of times during the course of assisting the Brittanee Drexel investigation,” said Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon on Monday. “We have not made many advances, but we have continued to revisit it as the Drexel case has unfolded.”

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Randall Taylor has maintained a more or less clean record, at least as far as felonies are concerned, since the McConaughey case. He has been arrested for misdemeanor offenses, however.

Neither potential suspects Shaun Taylor nor his son Timothy Da’Shaun Taylor have been charged with any crime related to the disappearance and alleged rape and murder of Brittanee Drexel.

[Images via Police Handout, Cannon Detention Center]

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