HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – In 2016, headway was made in cracking one of the biggest unsolved cases the Grand Strand has seen - the disappearance of Brittany Drexel.
She's the pretty 17-year-old girl with brown hair and blue eyes from Rochester, N.Y., who most folks in Myrtle Beach have become acquainted with.
She came to the area without her parents' permission in April 2009 and hasn't been seen since.
Most have seen the billboards asking for information into the cause of her disappearance.
And most have seen the last images of Britany Drexel on surveillance footage from inside and leaving the Blue Water Hotel the night of April 25, 2019. She was smiling and texting the night she went missing.
"Her mother dawn called me and said, 'John, Brittanee is missing,'" said John Kahyaohlu during a December interview that aired on "Crime Watch Daily" on WMBF. "I believe she was abducted. I do believe a lot of kids know what happened (and) they're not coming forward."
In 2016, a jailhouse informant, 25-year-old Taquan Brown, finally gave authorities substantial evidence about what likely happened.
Over the summer, FBI Agent, Gerrick Munoz testified in court that Brown said he visited a stash house in the McClellanville area, which is the same general location where Drexel's cellphone last pinged.
Brown claimed to have seen Drexel when he visited the stash house.
The FBI agent said Brown told officials he saw another man, Da'Shaun Taylor, and several others sexually abusing Drexel.
Brown told law enforcement Drexel tried to escape, but her attempt was in vain. She was caught and one of the captors "pistol-whipped" her before carrying her back inside the house.
The information said he then heard two gunshots. The next time Brown indicated he saw Drexel, her body was being wrapped up and removed from the house.
According to the FBI agent, several witnesses told investigators she was dumped in a McClellanville pond and fed to alligators.
Her body has never been found.
"We need your help so we can find her remains and bring her home to lay her to rest and make sure monsters like this can no longer victimize this community or kill anyone else's child," said her mother, Dawn Drexel, earlier this year.
Just last month, Da'Shaun Taylor spoke for the first time during a sit-down interview with WMBF News' Rochester affiliate.
Taylor was asked directly if he killed Drexel.
"No, sir. I did not kill Brittanee Drexel," he said.
Taylor has not officially been charged with the crime and continues to maintain his innocence.
Right now the FBI is offering a $25,000 dollar reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.