The search for Brittanee Drexel, the New York teen that made national news when she went missing from Myrtle Beach during Spring Break 2009, continued over the weekend in Charleston County, South Carolina. As many as 75 people, led by the CUE Center for Missing Persons, participated in a search Sunday in a heavily wooded area in McClellanville, according to WISTV.com. The Myrtle Beach Police Department, which is handling the investigation, were on hand, as was Brittanee Drexel’s mother, Dawn.
Dawn Drexel said it was the 48th such search she had been involved in — and she had been involved in every one since her daughter went missing.
“It’s mentally exhausting,” she said. “It’s just very exhausting to come here and you know in these areas it’s just all woods. You don’t fathom your kid being out here, but it’s just hard, very hard.”
According to authorities, the CUE Center for Missing Persons had organized the search because it was an area that had never been searched before during the investigation. Myrtle Beach Police acknowledged that there had been no new leads that prompted the search of that particular area.
“The organization that is searching for Brittanee today,” Dawn Drexel said, “that brought in a lot of the searchers, is the CUE Center for Missing Persons and it’s just a big close-knit family. I mean they all want to find Brittanee.”
She said that authorities from Charleston County, Kershaw County, Georgetown County and Tallahassee, Fla. were involved in the search. The crews spread out, using horses, ATV teams and K-9 units. Their efforts proved fruitless, however, except to perhaps eliminate another area where Brittanee Drexel was not to be found.
Brittanee Drexel disappeared on April 25, 2009, while vacationing with friends in Myrtle Beach. She was last seen by friends at the Bluewater Resort when she left to return to the hotel where she had been staying, the Bar Harbor, which was 20 blocks away. A hotel surveillance camera picked up her image as she left. Somewhere on that long walk, Brittanee Drexel vanished.
The 17-year-old had gone to Myrtle Beach with friends without her mother’s approval or knowledge.
“We don’t know where she is and not knowing is what really, really bothers you,” Dawn Drexel said. “I’ve been actively involved in her case. There’s a not a day that goes by that I don’t think about different ideas or things that I would like the police to look at.”
After extensive searches and numerous leads that went nowhere, the investigation cooled but was reignited in December when a pair of knock-off sunglasses were found that resembled those worn by the missing teen. However, that lead also yielded no results.
The story garnered national attention, with Dawn Drexel and other family members appearing on several talk shows, including “Dr. Phil.”Although speculation developed around one young man, his involvement has been seen by authorities as circumstantial at best.
No arrests have been made in the Drexel case.
In June, Gates-Chili High School honored Brittanee Drexel, who would have graduated this year, with a standing ovation as her name was read at the end of the roll call of graduating seniors. Her parents were presented an honorary degree in her name.
Alex Kreitman and Deja Knight, “Drexel’s mother says search is ‘mentally exhausting.'” WISTV.com