The remains of a 17-year-old girl from the Rochester, New York area who had been missing for more than 13 years were discovered in Georgetown County, South Carolina, last week, and the suspect in her death is in police custody, law enforcement officials said Monday.
Brittanee Drexel was last spotted on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on April 25, 2009. She was reportedly on her way to visit friends at a nearby hotel before disappearing.
Shortly thereafter, Brittanee's mother, Dawn Drexel, told CNN that her daughter had been forbidden to go to Myrtle Beach — a popular destination for high school- and college-aged spring breakers — but the teen opted to join her friends, anyway.
Thirteen years later, Brittanee's remains were found in Georgetown County, just south of Myrtle Beach, according to Sheriff Carter Weaver.
Police officials arrested Raymond Douglas Moody, 62, of Georgetown. The charges include murder, obstructing justice, kidnapping, and first-degree criminal sexual conduct, citing the arrest warrants.
According to Weaver, the FBI recovered the remains Wednesday, which were positively identified as Brittanee through DNA and dental records. Investigators believe she was buried there April 26, 2009.
Local authorities also believe Moody "kidnapped and strangled" the teen the same day she disappeared.
Her mother Dawn also spoke to the media Monday.
"This is truly a mother's nightmare," she said at the news conference. "I am mourning my beautiful daughter Brittanee as I have been for 13 years. But today, it's bittersweet. We are much closer to the closure and the peace that we have been desperately hoping for."
Dawn added: "Today marks the beginning of a new chapter. The search for Brittanee is now a pursuit of Brittanee's justice."
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