A new search that began Friday related to Brittanee Drexel’s case in Georgetown County continued through Saturday evening.
“I think that we need a lot of prayer right now in hopes that they may find something that’s gonna lead to an arrest and conviction in her case,” Dawn Pleckan, Drexel’s mother, told The Sun News Saturday.
She said she was alerted about the search by authorities on Friday, and hadn’t been given any details as to how it’s been going since it began. Pleckan said she was hopeful about the search, but anxious as well.
“We’re as hopeful as we can be I guess. It’s kind of a lot to take in. … The past eight years have been a roller-coaster ride. … I don’t think you’re ever ready to have something found,” she said.
FBI agents along with other law enforcement officers were involved in “investigative activity” just outside of Georgetown city limits starting Friday, and the search was related to the disappearance of Brittanee Drexel, according to reports.
FBI Supervisory Agent Don Wood confirmed the “activity” on Friday, but was unable to say what exactly the FBI was investigating. The attorney for the Drexel family, Brad Conway, confirmed to WPDE that the search was related to Drexel, who went missing in 2009. Myrtle Beach police also were on the scene, Lt. Joey Crosby, spokesman with Myrtle Beach police, told The Sun News on Friday.
The search is being conducted in a wooded area off Foxfire Court in Georgetown County, just outside of Georgetown off Mercer Avenue near Highway 521. Agents could be seen through the woods using shovels on Saturday. Later in the afternoon heavy earth-moving machinery was used at the scene, but there were no details available as to what prompted the new search and why they were looking in that area.
Drexel was 17 when her family said she came to Myrtle Beach without their knowledge on a spring break trip with a group of friends. She was last seen leaving the Blue Water Resort at 2001 S. Ocean Blvd. on April 25, 2009.
The time since Drexel’s disappearance has gone by slowly for her family.
“It’s been a long eight years. It really has. It’s been a long eight years. … I know that they’re actively working on her case,” Pleckan said of authorities, but she didn’t know what kind of arrests or information the new search this weekend may bring.
She said confidently that she would have justice for her daughter.
The FBI said last summer it had evidence that Drexel was murdered.
In August, it was reported a prison inmate allegedly told the FBI he was present when Drexel was killed. The inmate, Taquan Brown, told investigators he went to a house in the McClellanville area when he saw another man “sexually abusing Brittanee Drexel,” an agent testified.
The FBI agent testified Brown told him Drexel was shot after trying to escape before her body was “placed in a pit, or gator pit … Eaten by the gators.”
However, a family member of the men accused of killing Drexel refutes the story, claiming police are simply trying to solve the cold case. The last signal from Drexel’s cellphone pinged just north of McClellanville in an area known as South Santee.