In a segment that aired Wednesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Dawn Drexel expressed relief over the arrest of Raymond Moody, 62, in the death of Drexel's daughter, Brittanee Drexel, 17, who went missing 13 years ago while on spring break in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
“I never thought we would get to this place, and now we’re here and I can get Brittanee back and lay her to rest,” Drexel said.
The interview, in which she appeared with her attorney, Jarrett J. Ferentino, was her first since authorities in South Carolina announced on Monday that Brittanee’s remains had been located in Georgetown County and that Moody had been charged.
“She had her whole life ahead of her, and this monster took it away from her,” Drexel told Steph Watts, a TV reporter who specializes in true-crime coverage. “I’m glad he’s behind bars, so he can’t hurt anyone else’s child.”
ABC News correspondent Eva Pilgrim, who anchored the GMA segment, said Brittanee’s family had a small private ceremony of remembrance for her in South Carolina Tuesday. And “Today, her mother will bring Brittanee’s ashes back home to New York.”
In April 2009, Brittanee Marie Drexel of Chili traveled to Myrtle Beach with friends and without the knowledge or permission of her parents, Dawn and Chad Drexel, who were going through a divorce at the time.
Dawn Drexel told Watts: “She asked me if she could go, and I told her no, and she asked me why. And I said because I don’t know the kids you’re going with, there’s no parental supervision and something’s going to happen.”
On the third day of her trip — on April 25, 2009 — the Gates Chili High School junior walked more than a mile from the hotel where she was staying to see a friend at another resort. She visited briefly before leaving to return to her own hotel but never made it back.
“This is a case you warn people about,” Ferentino said. “It’s your child walking down the street and being snatched up by someone with malevolent homicidal proclivities. That’s exactly what this case was, and the investigators told us that much. Raymond Moody had no prior connection to Brittanee Drexel.”
At Monday’s news conference, Georgetown County Sheriff Carter Weaver announced that Moody, a convicted sex offender, was charged with murder, kidnapping and first-degree criminal sexual misconduct in Brittanee’s death, believed to have occurred the day she disappeared.
Moody also is charged with obstructing justice for concealing and/or disposing of evidence of his crime. Investigators maintain that he buried her body the following day.
Her remains, recovered May 11 in Georgetown County, which is about 35 miles south of Myrtle Beach, were positively identified through DNA and dental records.
Questions remain about the investigation’s long path. Seven years after her disappearance, authorities offered a detailed theory of Brittanee being abducted, taken to McClellanville, about 60 miles southwest of Myrtle Beach, and killed by suspects other than Moody.
It’s unclear what led officials in recent weeks to focus squarely on him, although he had been a person of interest in the case for years.
Prosecutors have not said when Moody will appear in court again.
“That’s one thing that we’re going to look forward to is to get justice for Brittanee,” her mother said.
Reporter Marcia Greenwood covers general assignments. Send story tips to email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @MarciaGreenwood.
This article originally appeared on Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Brittanee Drexel killed by a 'monster,' mom says in GMA interview