Raymond Moody sentenced to life in prison for the rape and murder of New York teen Brittanee Drexel


A South Carolina sex offender will spend the rest of his life in prison for the kidnapping, rape, and murder of New York teen Brittanee Drexel who disappeared 13 years ago while on spring break in Myrtle Beach.

Raymond Moody, 62, stood before the judge and Drexel’s family in the Georgetown County courtroom Wednesday where he pleaded guilty to his crimes and called himself ‘a monster.’

‘I was a monster, and I took Brittanee Drexel’s life,’ he said. ‘I don’t have the words to express how horrible I feel and have felt since that day.’

It’s the first time Moody has appeared in court since his arrest in early May, which led to his admission of Drexel’s murder. A week later, he led investigators to Drexel’s remains, nearly 13 years after she was last seen. 

Brittanee Drexel’s remains were found in May of this year, nearly 13 years after she disappeared while on spring break in South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach in April 2009

Raymond Moody, 62, stood before the judge and Drexel's family in the Georgetown County courtroom Wednesday where he pleaded guilty to his crimes and called himself 'a monster'

Raymond Moody, 62, stood before the judge and Drexel’s family in the Georgetown County courtroom Wednesday where he pleaded guilty to his crimes and called himself ‘a monster’

Investigators said that in 2009, Moody kidnapped Drexel in Myrtle Beach and took her to his house in Georgetown County, where he sexually assaulted her, killed her, and then buried her body hours later. 

In 2012, Moody was considered to be a person of interest in her case, but he was never charged and the case grew quiet. 

A break in the case came in May 2022 when he was arrested on an obstruction of justice charge. According to police, that’s when he admitted to raping and killing Drexel on April 25, 2009.

A week later, Moody led authorities to Drexel’s body that was buried on the property of his Georgetown home.

Her remains were positively identified using dental records and DNA. It was later determined by a coroner that Drexel died from strangulation.  

Drexel was just 17 years old when she was last seen April 2009 walking between hotels in Myrtle Beach. Her boyfriend, who stayed home in Rochester, New York, became concerned when she stopped answering texts. It's believed Moody killer her that night

Drexel was just 17 years old when she was last seen April 2009 walking between hotels in Myrtle Beach. Her boyfriend, who stayed home in Rochester, New York, became concerned when she stopped answering texts. It’s believed Moody killer her that night

Wednesday was the first time Moody had appeared in court since his arrest in early May, which led to his admission of Drexel's murder and the discovery of her remains

Wednesday was the first time Moody had appeared in court since his arrest in early May, which led to his admission of Drexel’s murder and the discovery of her remains

After Moody pleaded guilty in court on Wednesday, Judge Ferrell Cothran Jr. sentenced him to consecutive terms of 30 years on the charges of kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct, and a life sentence on the murder charge. 

The judge then told Moody ‘that act that you did was horrific,’ adding that he ‘gave up a lot of people’s long term happiness for your immediate pleasure.’ 

For 13 years, Drexel’s parents, Dawn Pleckan and Chad Drexel, searched for her. On Wednesday, they were able to speak directly to her killer. 

’13 years later, I found out the horrible, disgusting, senseless way she was murdered,’ Chad Drexel, Brittanee’s adoptive father, said. 

‘Every part of my being wants to say and do something about that. But my heart knows that I will not, and Brittanee would not want me, to go to jail over that.’

Drexel’s mother, Dawn Pleckan, spoke directly to Moody:

‘I am so glad my daughter was feisty, she fought back,’ Pleckan said. ‘She fought for her life. We know now she scratched the hell out of your head, face and neck. You will forever carry the scars of what my daughter did to you, and I hope you are haunted by what you did to her.’

Drexel's mother, Dawn Pleckan, spoke directly to Moody: 'You will forever carry the scars of what my daughter did to you, and I hope you are haunted by what you did to her'

Drexel’s mother, Dawn Pleckan, spoke directly to Moody: ‘You will forever carry the scars of what my daughter did to you, and I hope you are haunted by what you did to her’

Chad Drexel, Brittanee's adoptive father, said: '13 years later, I found out the horrible, disgusting, senseless way she was murdered,' adding that he wants to do something about that but that he knows Brittanee would not want him to go to jail

Chad Drexel, Brittanee’s adoptive father, said: ’13 years later, I found out the horrible, disgusting, senseless way she was murdered,’ adding that he wants to do something about that but that he knows Brittanee would not want him to go to jail

A memorial tree honoring Drexel was planted in Grand Park near Myrtle Beach in 2012

A memorial tree honoring Drexel was planted in Grand Park near Myrtle Beach in 2012

Drexel was just 17 years old when she was last seen April 2009 walking between hotels in Myrtle Beach in 2009. Her boyfriend, who stayed home in Rochester, New York, became concerned when she stopped answering texts.

The teen had traveled to Myrtle Beach from Rochester with some friends without telling her parents and disappeared without a trace after leaving her friend’s hotel on April 25. 

Officials say the teen was kidnapped that night by Raymond Douglas Moody, who raped and killed her before burying her body the next day in the woods.

Drexel’s body was found in May 2022 in Georgetown County, about 35 miles down the coast from where she disappeared. The discovery came after a flurry of tips and investigation that included Moody’s arrest May 4 on an obstruction of justice charge.

Moody, 62, who has an ‘extensive sex offender history’ was charged and arrested in the case. 

He is also on the South Carolina’s sex offender registry for 1983 convictions in California for sodomy by force of someone under 14 and kidnapping, according to State Law Enforcement Division Records.

Brittanee seen on security footage of the Blue Water Resort in Myrtle Beach as she left one group of friends and walked to the Bar Harbor Hotel, where she was staying with her girlfriends

Brittanee seen on security footage of the Blue Water Resort in Myrtle Beach as she left one group of friends and walked to the Bar Harbor Hotel, where she was staying with her girlfriends

Over the past 13 years, rumors about Drexel’s disappearance have made national headlines and multiple searches were conducted throughout South Carolina in hopes of finding the teen.

In August 2016, an FBI agent gave the first detailed account of what authorities believe happened to her, based on an account from an imprisoned man who said he saw Drexel’s horrific last moments and made a jailhouse confession, according to the Post and Courier. 

Taquan Brown of Walterboro, told agents in 2016 that he entered a ‘stash house’ in the days after Drexel’s abduction and saw a 16-year-old boy criminal ‘sexually abusing’ her.

Brown said he then went outside to give the boy’s father some money and saw Drexel run from the house, but she was caught and ‘pistol-whipped.’

The inmate said 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.

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.

Munoz, at the time, also said several witnesses claimed the teen’s body had been thrown in an ‘alligator pit’ and ‘eaten by the gators.’

None of these accounts were proven accurate. 

 



Source link