BRITTANEE Drexel’s killer confessed to murdering the teen after eerie clues led cops to suspect him.
Registered sex offender Raymond Moody, 62, was a suspect in the 17-year-old’s murder for ten years before her remains were found in May this year.
She was brutally murdered in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in April 2009 as she spent spring break with her friends.
But it was only earlier this year that authorities were able to find her remains, with Moody’s confession leading to the tragic discovery.
Brittanee’s remains were found in a gated private drive on the outskirts of Georgetown on May 11 and 12 – around 33 miles from where she vanished.
Cops had accused registered sex offender Raymond Moody, 62, of strangling her to death on or around the night of April 25 2009 in South Carolina.
They learned he was staying at a motel in Georgetown, South Carolina, around the same time the teen disappeared.
And he had returned to the area after being convicted of multiple sexual assaults in California and serving about half of his 40-year sentence.
Officials were able to positively ID Drexel through dental records and DNA.
Cops scoured an area located two-and-a-half miles from a motel where Moody was staying at the time Drexel disappeared.
Moody had been a person of interest for over ten years before he reportedly confessed to killing Brittanee in 2022 and led authorities to her burial site.
The sick killer allegedly admitted to police that he kidnapped, raped, and strangled the girl to death on April 25, 2009 – the same day she was last seen alive.
The Georgetown County Corner’s Office confirmed the remains were Brittanee’s; however, they ruled her cause of death “undetermined.”
“It was during this examination that the remains were confirmed to be that of Brittanee Drexel, which was collaborated by a DNA analysis,” Coroner Chase Ridgeway said.
On May 18, Moody was charged with obstructing justice, kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct and murder.
He was later sentenced to life in prison “for the murder, kidnapping and rape of Drexel” in October after pleading guilty to the horrific crimes.
“I will never forgive him for what he did to my daughter,” said Brittanee’s mom Dawn Pleckan.
The case of Brittanee Drexel is the focus of Friday’s episode of Dateline at 9pm.
In the episode, titled “The Last Walk,” journalist Keith Morrison interviews Brittanee’s relatives and friends, including her father Chad Drexel, and investigators about the search for the teen.
Officials believe that Brittanee may have willingly got into Moody’s car for a ride back to the hotel but it soon turned into a kidnapping.
“When they drove past the hotel, she was probably like…I’m in trouble,” her heartbroken mom said.
“I couldn’t imagine how scared she was.”
At the time Brittanee’s remains were found, her mom said: “I am mourning my beautiful daughter today, as I have for the last 13 years.”
But she said: “We are much closer to the peace that I have been hoping for.”
Pleckan said FBI agents have done an “amazing” job.
She said: “It may have taken them a long time, but we are so glad that we can bring Brittanee home.”
Drexel’s dad Chad said: “It is bittersweet, we have the closure we wanted.”
Her long-term friend Jessica Fico told WHEC-TV: “I want her to be remembered as someone who was courageous.
“I want her to be remembered as just spunky, she loved life and like I said earlier, she was just the light of the room every time she walked in it.”
Fico admitted that she found peace at the thought that Drexel had not been suffering.
The motive behind Drexel’s death remains unknown.
Years before Drexel’s remains were identified, Derrick Munoz, who was testifying during an unrelated robbery case, revealed that witnesses told police that her body was placed in an alligator pit.
But, cops and FBI agents combed up to as many as 40 alligator ponds but didn’t find any remains.
Investigators said that the search for her body was “difficult.”
The claims ultimately proved to be inaccurate.
Drexel, originally from New York, was last seen leaving the Blue Water Resort in April 2009 and never returned to the motel she was staying in.
Her phone last gave off a signal on April 26, 2009, in Georgetown County.
Her last text was to her boyfriend, who was in New York. He responded to the message.
But, she failed to reply and 10 minutes later her partner called Drexel’s mom who reported the case to the police.
At the time, investigators named Moody as a person of interest in the teen’s disappearance.
Cops previously said that they didn’t have enough evidence to formally name Moody as a suspect.