GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Georgetown County officials have confirmed remains found Wednesday in a wooded area along Old Town Avenue in Harmony Township are those of Brittanee Drexel, who went missing more than a decade ago.
Georgetown County Sheriff Carter Weaver said the remains were found and identified through dental records.
“The ‘why’ may never be known or understood, but today this task force can confidently and without hesitation answer the rest of those questions along with the who is responsible,” Georgetown County Sheriff Carter Weaver said. “The who is Raymond Douglas Moody.”
Moody, 62, of Georgetown, is charged with murder, kidnapping and first-degree criminal sexual conduct, according to warrants.
Warrants show Moody allegedly caused Brittanee Drexel’s death by manual strangulation on or about April 25, 2009. Moody also allegedly sexually battered Brittanee Drexel on the same night, according to the warrants.
15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said evidence shows Brittanee Drexel was raped and killed at the Santee River and then her body was taken to Old Town Avenue.
Moody was booked on an obstruction of justice charge on May 4. The sheriff’s office violated South Carolina’s public records law by refusing to provide the incident report for Moody’s arrest, according to an expert. It also refused to explain the arrest.
Moody was given a $100,000 bond on the obstructing justice charge. He doesn’t have bond on the other charges, according to Richardson.
“We are much closer to the closure and the peace that we have been desperately hoping for,” Brittanee Drexel’s mother Dawn Drexel said at the news conference.
Watch the full news conference below
A celebration of life will be held both in Rochester and Myrtle Beach, but no dates have been announced, Dawn Drexel said.
“We now start a new chapter,” Dawn Drexel said. “The search for Brittanee is now a pursuit for her justice.”
Chad Drexel, Brittanee Drexel’s father, thanked officials for everything they’ve done.
“We have a little more closure than what we wanted,” Chad Drexel said. “Weighing this all out is tough on a dad, tough on a mother, but having faith and hope is what’s gonna guide us to the end result.”
“It may have took them a long time, but we are glad that we are able to bring Brittanee home,” Dawn Drexel said.
News13 sister station WROC obtained arrest warrants for Moody, which state Moody “while in the County of Georgetown, did take overt actions to conceal and/or dispose of evidence of a crime also committed in the jurisdictional boundaries of the County of Georgetown.”
A SLED background check obtained by News13 on Thursday revealed Moody’s charge for obstructing justice was on April 25, 2009 — the date Drexel disappeared.
In 2016, an FBI agent said Brittanee Drexel was abducted, gang-raped, shot to death and thrown into an alligator-infested swamp, citing a statement from a prison inmate. On Monday, Richardson said it is now null and void.
News13 asked the FBI on Monday for a statement regarding the alligator pit allegations and whether or not Timothy Da’Shaun Taylor, who was named a person of interest in the disappearance, was still connected to the case. The FBI sent the following statement:
“Throughout the investigation, law enforcement followed multiple leads to wherever they led us based on the information we had at the time,” the statement reads. “We have an obligation to follow leads to their conclusion. The person we believe is responsible for Brittanee’s murder has been charged.”
In 2011, News13 confronted Moody who said he knew nothing about the case, and told our reporter to leave or he would call the police.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Refresh for updates.