A new report says a 17-year-old missing New York State girl may have been gang raped and then thrown in an alligator pit after disappearing during spring break.
Brittanee Drexel was last seen in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she had gone on spring break without her parents’ knowledge.
For years, family and friends have maintained hope that they would learn what happened to the teenager.
An FBI agent provided the new account in court; it stems from an inmate’s story to police about what he says happened to Drexel in 2009.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Videos Captured the Last Moments of Brittanee Drexel Before She Disappeared
Brittanee’s last days were captured on video, including one taken the day before she disappeared in Myrtle Beach (see above).
This compilation video below shows surveillance video that captured the teenager walking out of the Bluewater Hotel where she was staying on April 25, 2009. She was leaving the hotel to go back to another hotel where she was staying.
Police had said previously that Brittanee went to the Bluewater hotel to see a friend from Rochester, Peter Brozowitz, who was staying there with friends, according to WCSC. She stayed 10 minutes. Police said Brozowitz and his friends were not suspects.
Drexel was never seen alive again. After she vanished, Drexel’s cellphone pinged the next day “near the South Santee River, between McClellanville and Georgetown.”
2. A Newspaper Says the FBI Claims an Inmate Described What Happened to Brittanee
The Post & Courier obtained the statement of FBI agent Gerrick Munoz who “gave the first detailed account of what investigators think happened to 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel after she disappeared in 2009.”
The newspaper said it had obtained Munoz’s statement via a federal court transcript, and described a statement Munoz said the FBI obtained from a prison inmate who claimed he was there when Brittanee died.
According to the newspaper, the transcript describes an inmate named Taquan Brown telling investigators he saw another man, identified as Timothy Da’Shaun Taylor, who was then 16, “sexually abusing Brittanee Drexel” at a “stash house” in Walterboro.
He said that Drexel tried to flee but was caught and pistol whipped, and he heard two shots he assumed was her being killed. “Then the girl’s body was wrapped up and taken away,” the statement said, according to the Post-Courier.
According to WYFF4, the judge “ordered Taylor released on $10,000 bail” and Taylor’s mother, Joan, said the story is false and “craziness.”
3. Investigators Said in June That Brittanee Was Held Against Her Will For Days
In a June news conference, investigators revealed that the teen was kidnapped and held against her will for days after she disappeared.
At that time, authorities were vague, but they said they had information that people had seen Brittanee for several days after she disappeared. There is a $25,000 being offered for information leading to a conviction in her case.
The Post-Courier says the inmate’s confession came out in a bond hearing on a charge his lawyer says was designed to “pressure him into confessing and helping the government.” The newspaper says the other people named in the statement deny the inmate’s account.
WCSC says police had previously considering human trafficking as a motive.
4. Brittanee’s Body Was Fed to Alligators, The Report Claims
After shooting Brittanee, the men took her to an alligator-infested swamp and put her body in it, the inmate claimed, according to The Democrat Chronicle.
“Several witnesses have told us Miss Drexel’s body was placed in a pit, or gator pit, to have her body disposed of. Eaten by the gators,” said the transcript. Brittanee’s body has never been found.
5. Brittanee Was From New York & Disappeared During Spring Break
Brittanee was from Chili, New York, and she had gone to Myrtle Beach for spring break. Drexel was a student at Gates-Chili High School when she disappeared.
She had gone to Myrtle Beach without her parents knowing. Her family had thought she was at a beach in New York State instead. Brittany had gone to Myrtle Beach with three friends, even though her mother had previously warned her that she something might happen to her if she did.