MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Nearly six years to the day of her daughter's disappearance, Dawn Drexel plans to honor her daughter, Brittanee.
The teenager was last seen at the Blue Water Resort in Myrtle Beach while visiting the Grand Strand with friends from Rochester, NY. In the days leading up to her getting there, her mom continued to tell her not to go to Myrtle Beach.
"I knew something was going to happen, that's why I didn't want her to come," shared Dawn Drexel. You could call it a mother's intuition. Dawn Drexel recalls feeling a sense of dread when her daughter, Brittanee talked about going to Myrtle Beach for a week. However, Brittanee seemed set on coming here, which makes Dawn believe her daughter was promised something. Perhaps a meeting with a modeling agent, because it simply doesn't make sense to her that a teenager could disappear from a busy boulevard.
"She didn't have permission to come here, ended up coming anyways. She was only here, for what, 60 hours? And she vanished," Drexel said. There are cameras on the boulevard, but Dawn was told by detectives they simply weren't working the day her daughter went missing. "Had they been working, you may have seen my daughter get into a vehicle or something?" Drexel wondered.
The lack of evidence makes her question the accountability of law enforcement. "I've been so patient with them, worked on Brittanee's case for six years and for them to have nothing..." she expressed. She believes law enforcement should be accountable for the safety of visitors, and that a teenager should be able to walk down the boulevard without worrying.
She also questions if the initial investigators collected all of the evidence they could. "They say they're still working on it, getting tips and things, but they're unable to tell me anything," Brittanee's mom said.
Lieutenant Crosby with the Myrtle Beach Police Department said, "There is constant communication going on back and forth with everyone who has been involved." As a father, Lt. Crosby understands Dawn's frustration. As a police officer involved on this case since day one, he understands her drive to find Brittanee.
"Brittanee was Dawn's daughter, and she's missing, and we understand the pain that she's feeling. We want to resolve this case for her and give her some closure," he said. It is rare, according to Lt. Crosby, for the agency to keep a case open for this many years. In addition, he pointed out this is the only case he is aware of that a teen has vanished on Ocean Boulevard.
"Three years ago they thought they were close to making an arrest. Now, it's three years later and there is just no accountability," Drexel said. She at least wants to see suspects cleared from the investigation to show movement in the case.
Lt. Crosby explained his department keeps those suspects on the list so they remain in the front of the detective's mind when investigating the case.
Frustration aside, Dawn Drexel plans to honor her daughter on Saturday. A march in Brittanee's name will begin at the Bar Harbor Hotel, and trace her last known steps to the Blue Water Resort. At that location, a candlelight vigil will be held. The event begins at 7:30 p.m., and is open to the public, rain or shine.
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