Nearly a decade-and-a-half after she vanished without a trace, police have made an arrest in connection with the disappearance of Brittanee Drexel – the New York teenager who went missing from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina more than thirteen years ago.
Raymond Douglas Moody, 62, of Georgetown, S.C. has been charged with murder, kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct in the first degree in connection with the case, according to Georgetown County sheriff Carter Weaver.
All of these alleged crimes took place on Saturday, April 25, 2009 – the day Drexel disappeared – according to Weaver. All of them took place in Georgetown County – which is where Drexel’s body was discovered last Wednesday.
According to probable cause affidavits released in the aftermath of the news conference, Moody strangled Drexel and then “took overt actions to conceal and/ or dispose of evidence of a crime.”
In addition to murder, rape and kidnapping charges, Moody is also facing an obstruction of justice charge – which was first reported last week as it became clear where this story was headed.
Still, so many questions remain unanswered …
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The Myrtle Beach, S.C. police department named Moody as a person of interest in connection with Drexel’s disappearance on February 16, 2012. Prior to that, police searched his apartment at the Sunset Lodge on U.S. Highway 17 on August 1, 2011 – more than two years after Drexel was last seen.
Nothing was found linking him to the missing teenager, however.
Moody moved into the apartment the day before Drexel disappeared, the owner of the facility told WMBF TV-32 (NBC – Myrtle Beach, S.C.) at the time of the search. He moved out six months later. At the time of the search, police had not publicly named Moody as a person of interest in the Drexel case.
The location of the lodge was significant because it was near where Drexel’s cell phone gave off its final “ping” in the early morning hours of Sunday, April 26, 2009.
Prior to her abduction, at approximately 9:15 p.m. EDT, Drexel stopped responding to text messages and phone calls from her boyfriend, John Greico. According to Myrtle Beach police, Drexel’s cell phone “pinged” more than once near the Georgetown/ Charleston County line early Sunday.
That was the last trace of her …
“Every police officer has that one case that frequents their every waking thought,” said Amy Prock, Myrtle Beach police chief. “This was that case for many people in our team and several agencies throughout this circuit and throughout this state.”
A registered sex offender, Moody served more than two decades in a California prison for raping a nine-year-old girl.
DON’T MISS A STORY …
He was issued a traffic citation in Surfside Beach on Sunday, April 26, 2009, the day after Drexel vanished from the Blue Water Resort at 2001 S. Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach. That citation was significant because Moody told investigators he was not in the area at the time Drexel went missing.
According to Weaver, Drexel’s remains were discovered in a wooded area west of Georgetown, S.C. on May 11, 2022. She was identified by dental records and DNA – findings which have been confirmed by both state and federal laboratories.
Drexel was said to have been buried in Georgetown County on April 26, 2009 – the same day Moody was ticketed.
“We are going to do our best to see that Raymond Moody pays for what he has done,” S.C. fifteenth circuit solicitor Jimmy Richardson said.
Richardson did not say whether his office would seek the death penalty in the high-profile case. He said Moody – who is being held without bond at the Georgetown County detention center – would be arraigned on the charges in the coming days.
Drexel’s parents – Chad and Dawn Drexel – appeared at the press conference alongside law enforcement agents and prosecutors.
“The search for Brittanee is now a pursuit for Brittanee’s justice,” her mother said.
None of the law enforcement agencies participating in Monday’s press conference – including the Georgetown sheriff’s office, the Myrtle Beach, S.C. police department, the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – took questions from the media. Prior to the release of probable cause affidavits, the closest we got to any details about what may have happened to Drexel came in the form of a comment by Susan Ferensic, the FBI special agent in charge for the state of South Carolina.
“In the last week, we confirmed that Brittanee lost her life in a tragic way, at the hands of a horrible criminal who was walking our streets,” Ferensic said.
Neither Ferensic nor any of the local or state law enforcement leaders have commented on what information led them to arrest Moody earlier this month.
Below is a link to the entire news conference …
(Via: Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats (including that Minnesota Twins’ lid pictured above).
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