The name Brittanee Drexel might not be very recognizable to most of you, but for me, it’s the name of someone whose story has really bothered me over the last few years. A young 17-year-old girl sneaks off to Myrtle Beach for Spring Break in April 2009, unbeknownst to her mother, who believes she’s just sleeping over at a friend’s house. Brittanee checks into her hotel, hangs out with friends, and then one night is never seen or heard from again.
More than 4 years have passed since Brittanee’s disappearance, and it seems that her family isn’t much closer to learning what happened to her.
On April 22, 2009, Brittanee gets into an argument with her mother about going to Myrtle Beach for Spring Break. There was a group of older kids from Brittanee’s school who had invited the younger girl to go along, and Brittanee was determined to go. Her mother, however, was determined not to let her. Brittanee storms out of the house, and a couple hours later, calls to say that she is going to just stay at a friend’s house nearby for Spring Break, which her mother ultimately agrees to. Secretly, however, Brittanee sneaks off to Myrtle Beach with her friends.
For the next couple days, Brittanee keeps in touch with her boyfriend John back home and tells him about her trip. She and her friends are staying at a motel on the beach called Bar Harbor, and are visiting the local bars at night. Although the drinking age is 21, the bars allow kids as young as 17 years old to go inside. But on the second full day of the trip, Brittanee’s text messages to John start to change. Instead of raving about how much fun she’s having, she starts telling him about how she’s feeling alienated from the group. According to John, the older kids are using drugs, something that Brittanee apparently isn’t into.
The next day, Brittanee decides to meet up with a guy named Peter that she knows from back home, who is staying at the Blue Water Resort, another hotel about a mile away from Brittanee’s. She borrows a pair of shorts from one of her friends, and texts John while she walks to the other hotel. In her texts, she tells him that she’s still not having a good time and that she can’t wait to come home the following day.
Shortly after arriving at Peter’s hotel, Brittanee’s friend texts her and tells her that she wants her shorts back. Brittanee is pissed that she has to walk back, and she texts John about it as she’s walking back to her hotel. The texting continues for a little bit, but suddenly Brittanee stops responding, which causes John to grow concerned. After not being able to get ahold of her, he breaks down and calls her mother to tell her that Brittanee is in Myrtle Beach and that he can’t get ahold of her.
The next morning, Brittanee’s family and boyfriend drive down to Myrtle Beach to look for her, with no luck. The police are able to pin down a timeline based on Brittanee’s cell phone activity and video surveillance on the streets of Myrtle Beach. Below is the timeline of Brittanee’s last known activity.
8:15 PM Brittanee is seen on video surveillance, walking down the street and texting while on her way to Peter’s hotel.
8:48 PM Brittanee is seen on video surveillance, leaving Peter’s hotel. According to him, she leaves the hotel after receiving a text from her friend whose shorts she had borrowed.
8:58 PM Brittanee sends a text to her boyfriend, telling him that she’s going to pack and probably go to bed once she returns to her hotel. He texts her back, “Why?” and she never responds. This is the last outbound activity on Brittanee’s cell phone.
9:03 PM A traffic surveillance camera should have captured video of Brittanee walking, but it appears that Brittanee never makes it this far. Somewhere between her leaving the hotel at 8:48 PM and when she should have arrived at this traffic camera, Brittanee disappears.
9:27 PM Brittanee’s cell phone pings a cell tower in Surfside Beach, about 7 miles south of Myrtle Beach on Route 17. Brittanee’s hotel where she was supposed to be heading was north.
11:58 PM Brittanee’s cell phone pings a cell tower about 50 miles south of Myrtle Beach, near Georgetown County. This is the last time her cell phone pings, meaning that either her phone was shut off, or the battery had been taken out.
All signs, in my mind, point to an abduction. Judging by the cell phone pings, Brittanee seems to have been transported by vehicle to where her phone last pinged, 50 miles south of Myrtle Beach. There’s no way she could have walked there so by car is really the only other option.
How you can help
Brittanee’s family has set up a website where people can get updates, provide tips, and participate in vigils. Visit Help Find Brittany Drexel. You can also download Brittanee’s missing person poster HERE, to help spread the word. Thousands upon thousands of people visit Myrtle Beach every year and it’s important to keep Brittanee’s name and face out there, because as they always say, someone always knows something.
UPDATE: 12/30/13 9:34 AM
I don’t want to jump the gun on this, but skeletal remains have been found in Myrtle Beach, not far from where Brittanee disappeared. According to News10NBC, their reporters spoke with Brittanee’s mom, who said law enforcement contacted her on Sunday night to notify her of the possibility. The remains have been sent to Texas for further testing.
It isn’t known yet if the remains are human, but it sounds as though authorities are taking every precaution to confirm whether the bones are human, and if they are, who they belong to. They reportedly look as though they have been there for years.
I’ll continue updating this page with further updates.
UPDATE: 1/1/14 12:43 PM
The Horry County Coroner has confirmed that the remains found in Myrtle Beach are NOT Brittanee Drexel. The remains are reportedly those of a male over 20 years of age.
As relieved as I am that the remains aren’t Brittanee’s, it’s sad to know that another family will be receiving the worst news of their lives.