About 75 people gathered around a tree near a bridge at Grand Park at The Market Common before sunset Friday to remember Brittanee Drexel who was last seen five years ago.
They wore t-shirts bearing her name and face, lit candles, prayed then dropped rose petals into the water and released a couple dozen pink and blue balloons into the darkening sky.
Brittanee Drexel was 17 when she disappeared on April 25, 2009, leaving the Blue Water Hotel on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach. She had come to the Grand Strand for spring break with friends from her home in Rochester, N.Y., and without the consent of her parents.
Her mother Dawn Drexel said she never thought she’d still be looking for her daughter five years after she was reported missing. She said she still has hope for a happy ending, and said she will never stop searching.
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If her daughter returned, Dawn Drexel said she would hug her and kiss her “and maybe not let her go for a while.”
She said she would simply tell her she loves her and has missed her.
Myrtle Beach police continue to investigate her disappearance, said Capt. David Knipes. The case remains open and active, he said, there have been no arrests.
Drexel’s case has been profiled on dozens of local and national television shows, her information has been featured on billboards throughout the area and there are several websites dedicated to information about her.
Soon after the Brittanee Drexel was last seen in Myrtle Beach, police and CUE officials began searching areas in Georgetown and Charleston counties after learning Drexel’s cellphone gave off its last known signal on April 26, 2009, in Georgetown County.
The searches for her that the CUE Center has conducted number in the dozens, and involved hundreds of volunteers and law enforcement officials.