Weekend search planned for Brittanee Drexel; last seen five years ago in Myrtle Beach

Officials will gather again this weekend to search for clues in the disappearance of a New York teen last seen in Myrtle Beach five years ago.

Brittanee Drexel was 17 when she was last seen 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.

Police and searchers have focused on the area where Georgetown and Charleston counties meet after Drexel’s cellphone gave off its last known signal on April 26, 2009.

“There will a search going on this weekend in the Georgetown area,” said Myrtle Beach police Capt. David Knipes. “There is nothing new to report, we are just continuing the investigation and looking at new and old areas.”

In August 2011, state and local police searched a room at the Sunset Lodge on U.S. 17 near the Georgetown County Airport where someone identified as a person of interest had stayed. Police officials declined to comment on findings in that hotel room, and no new information has been released since that search.

Police have worked closely with members of the CUE Center, a nonprofit organization that searches for missing people and is based in Wilmington, N.C., to organize similar searches in the past. Those have included K-9 teams, searchers on horses and volunteers combing through wooded areas for any signs of Drexel.

Drexel’s mother, Dawn Drexel, moved from Rochester, N.Y., to Myrtle Beach last year and is now a CUE state director and board member. She helps conduct searches for other missing people using the organization’s volunteers and law enforcement connections.

Brittanee 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.