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Myrtle Beach police not ready to connect attempted kidnapping to Brittanee Drexel case

As Myrtle Beach police continued Friday to investigate an attempted kidnapping of a 20-year-old woman along Ocean Boulevard, those involved in the case of a missing New York teen hope the incident will provide clues in her case.

Myrtle Beach police Capt. David Knipes said there is nothing to link the two cases together, but the same investigators are working both incidents.

Brittanee Drexel, a New York teen who was last seen on April 25, 2009, while on Spring Break in Myrtle Beach. She was last seen on video surveillance leaving the Blue Water Hotel at 2001 S. Ocean Blvd., police said.

The incident on Wednesday occurred about 4:30 p.m. along Ocean Boulevard near 22nd Avenue South, Knipes said. The woman said a van drove up behind her and two men got out and grabbed her.

The woman fought back against the men and told police she was able to get free before they pulled her into the van, which was described as being pale blue with several rust spots and a side sliding door, according to the report. The woman said there was a yellow sticker in the back passenger window, but she was unable to get the license plate number because the incident occurred so quickly.

The woman said she elbowed one of the men and he had blood coming from his face when she turned around, according to the report. She said the men got back inside the van where a third man was waiting in the driver’s seat.

“We do have the same group of investigators that worked the Drexel case looking into this one,” Knipes said in a statement released on Friday. “At this time we are not saying that the cases are related, however we must exercise due diligence and properly review the cases and see if there are any similarities. As of now the only facts that are related are the (approximate location) and the fact that they are both younger women.”

Monica Caison with the CUE Center for Missing Person in Wilmington, N.C., said the proximity of the Drexel’s disappearance and the woman’s attempted kidnapping are “an awful coincidence.”

“We’re glad this young lady is OK and she wasn’t abducted. We’re hoping also that if, and that is a big if, they are connected then by her making it away, it might actually provide some information to investigators if they are connected,” Caison said. “It does spark a ray of hope that this could bring forth some information on Brittanee. Regardless if it is related to Brittanee, we hope these people are caught quickly and the next person is protected.”

Caison said she spoke to Drexel’s family Thursday and they are hopeful someone with information about the teen will come forward to authorities. “We’re hoping it will yield some information to pertain to Brittanee; you can’t help but hope that,” Caison said. “If that happens in any town it’s something to be concerned about and you’re going to look into anything to see if it’s connected. We’re hopeful because Brittannee’s case needs a break.”