A teenage girl from New York who disappeared seven years ago while on Spring Break in Myrtle Beach may have been gang-raped, killed, and fed to alligators, new information reveals.
Brittanee Marie Drexel, then 17, traveled to Myrtle Beach from Rochester in 2009 with some friends without telling her parents and disappeared without a trace after leaving her friend’s hotel on April 25.
In June, investigators said they believed the missing teen was dead, and offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.
On Friday, 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, according to the Post and Courier.
FBI agent Gerrick Munoz said in a report, citing the prisoner’s account, that Drexel was being held in a ‘stash house’ outside of McClellanville, about an hour outside of Myrtle Beach.
Police had previously said they believed that the high school student was held for at least three days against her will near McClellanville, as that is where they traced signals from her cell phone after her disappearance.
Earlier this year, an inmate who was sentenced to 25 years for voluntary manslaughter told police he knew what happened to the young woman.
The inmate, Taquan Brown of Walterboro, told agents that he entered a ‘stash house’ in the days after Drexel’s abduction and saw Timothy Da’Shaun Taylor, then 16, ‘sexually abusing’ her.
Brown said he then went outside to give Da’Shaun’s father, Shaun, some money, and saw the girl run from the house, but she was caught and ‘pistol-whipped.’
According to Brown, she was then dragged back into the house, and Brown said he heard two gun shots and later saw the girl’s body wrapped up and taken away.
Munoz said several witnesses said the teen’s body had been thrown in an ‘alligator pit’ and ‘eaten by the gators.’
So far agents have not been able to find the girl’s remains despite checking 14 alligator ponds. They believe there are about 40 in the area.
Joan Taylor, the wife of Shaun Taylor and mother of Da’Shaun Taylor, says the story implicating the pair is ‘craziness’ made up by investigators to get her son to confess to the crime.
However, agents say the gruesome account has been backed up by other ‘tidbits’ and ‘second hand information’ that have been coming in recently, and by another inmate in Georgetown County.
Munoz said that, according to the second inmate, who got the account secondhand, Da’Shaun allegedly managed to get the girl from where he met her in Myrtle Beach back to McClellanville and then ‘showed her off, introduced her to some other friends that were there … they ended up tricking her out with some of their friends, offering her to them and getting a human trafficking situation.’
When her case began to receive massive publicity, the alleged abductor felt he had a problem and so she was ‘murdered and disposed of’ said the FBI agent.
Father Shaun and son Da’Shaun are still just suspects, with no hard evidence against them, reports the Post and Courier.
In part of an effort to get Da’Shaun to cooperate with the Drexel case, he is currently being held on additional charges relating to being the getaway driver for the robbery of a McDonald’s in 2011.
Although he had confessed and served his time for that crime, agents hit him with parallel charges. Da’Shaun’s lawyer, David Aylor, calls the ploy a ‘squeeze job’ to get him to admit to the Drexel crime, which his lawyer says he didn’t commit.
Da’Shaun posted $10,000 bail and was released.
Da’Shaun’s mother, Joan Taylor, told the Post and Courier that authorities are ‘trying to pin something’ on her son. She said the implication that her son and husband were responsible for Drexel’s rape and murder are untrue and ‘not in our nature.’
She said her son lost his arm in a childhood accident, works as a mechanic, and supports a son, daughter, and grandmother.
She said both her son and husband are fed up with the allegations and think they’re ‘crazy.’