It was Spring Break 2009 when 17-year-old Brittanee Marie Drexel traveled to Myrtle Beach from Rochester, New York, without telling her parents.
On April 25, 2009, the teen was seen was on security video walking into the Blue Water Resort hotel where a male friend, Peter Brozowitz, was staying with other people. Police say the teen then left to go back to her motel to return some clothing to another friend — and after that, she disappeared without a trace. Her body has never been found and no charges have been filed.
But last year, an FBI agent gave the first detailed account of what authorities believe happened to the teen, based on an account from an imprisoned man who says he saw Drexel’s horrific last moments and made a jailhouse confession. He revealed that Drexel had been held in a drug “stash” house for several days, gang-raped, murdered, and left in an alligator pit in McClellanville — about an hour from the hotel.
The revelations were made during FBI agent Gerrick Munoz’s testimony in the hearing for Timothy Da’Shaun Taylor, 25, on an unrelated robbery case. Munoz testified that a prison informant told authorities that in 2009 he saw Taylor allegedly “sexually abusing” Drexel with other men at a “stash house” in the McClellanville area.
The informant, Taquan Brown, said that while he was there, he allegedly saw Drexel try to escape, before he heard two gunshots.
Brown, who is serving a 25-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter, said he believes that Taylor’s father, 43-year-old Timothy Shaun Taylor, pulled the trigger on Drexel, Munoz said. Brown then told Munoz that two shots rang out, and he assumed the elder Taylor shot the girl, whose body was wrapped up and taken away.
Asked what happened to the girl’s body, Munoz testified that it has not been found but that “several witnesses have told us Miss Drexel’s body was placed in a pit, or gator pit, to have her body disposed of. Eaten by the gators.” Munoz told the court that investigators have searched several alligator ponds and the stash house, but found no trace of Drexel.
Drexel’s mother Dawn told Dr. Phil last October that the FBI and police told her that her daughter’s case was not likely to ever be solved.
“The jailhouse informant said he walked into this house in McClellanville – it’s called a stash house,” Dawn told Dr. Phil.
“It’s somewhere where they can put drugs and illegal things. He was walking through the house and he had said that Deshaun and other men were raping my daughter. He had walked through… Brittanee tried to escape and they ran out and got her and brought her back into the house and pistol whipped her and beat her and shot her.”
Taylor’s attorney, David Aylor, characterized the transcript as “clearly nothing but a squeeze-job” designed to pressure him into confessing, and Taylor has vehemently denied any involvement with Drexel’s death. In a statement, he said:
“I had no involvement with anything to do with Brittanee Drexel. I don’t know Taquan Brown and I don’t know why he would call my name. I am being prosecuted again for a crime I already helped them solve and already did my time for, all because some guy in prison is trying to cut a deal. It’s not fair to be charged for the same crime twice and that’s not how our system is supposed to work.”
The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for information that could help lead to the person or persons responsible for Brittanee Drexel’s disappearance, and is asking anyone with information to call (800) CALL-FBI.
If you are in search of a missing person, make sure to enter their information into the database of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
Main photo: Brittanee Drexel [Justice For Brittannee Drexel/Facebook]