Emotional vigil honors anniversary of teen's disappearance

Myrtle Beach, SC - MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - It's a position no mother would ever want to find herself in. One year after the disappearance of her teenager daughter, Dawn Drexel has found herself back along the Grand Strand begging for a break in the missing girl's case.

Brittanee Drexel was on Spring Break from the Rochester, NY, area when she was last seen at a Myrtle Beach resort along Ocean Boulevard on April 25, 2009. Since then, police say they have not been able to locate the teen.

Now, investigators with the Myrtle Beach Police Department and Georgetown County Sheriff's Office are on the hunt for someone who knows what happened to Brittanee the night she went missing.

More than 40 people marked the one-year anniversary of Brittanee's disappearance Saturday evening with an emotional 20-block march down South Ocean Boulevard. The line of family, friends and supporters walked from the resort the teen was staying at while on Spring Break, to the place she was last seen alive.

It may seem like the Drexel family is returning to square one with no significant leads under their belt, but this time around for Brittanee's mother, the one-year anniversary is more than a reality check.

"You know, this whole year has been a hell for me, for my family, for her brother and sister," said Dawn Drexel minutes before the march. "Brittanee is a big part of our family and there's a missing link and she's not here with us. We want her back."

As the symbolic march winded down in Myrtle Beach and the sun set over Hurl Rock Park, a candlelight vigil began to tap into the emotions of those who gathered to support the Drexels. Tears began streaming down the eyes of Brittanee's relatives, as her friends hugged each other between sobs.

"I love you Brittanee," said one of the teen's friends, who traveled to Myrtle Beach with the Drexels. "Please come home."

It's been a long 365 days for those closest to the teen, but all agree on one thing: Someone knows something about the teen's disappearance, and it's time to come forward.

"You can never tell when it's going to be over," said Brittanee's mother. "We're hoping it's over soon. We're hoping we can find her and bring her back home."

Anyone with information on the disappearance of Brittanee Drexel is asked to call the Myrtle Beach Police Department or Georgetown County Sheriff's Office immediately.

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