New York teen who vanished in 2009 likely held captive, killed - FBI

The Story of Brittanee Drexel's Disappearance


NEW YORK, June 8 (Reuters) - A 17-year-old New York girl who vanished in 2009 while on spring break in a South Carolina beach town was likely held captive for several days before being killed, federal agents investigating the girl's disappearance said for the first time on Wednesday.

SEE ALSO: Trump considering former 2016 rival as running mate

Rochester, New York resident Brittanee Drexel, who was last seen on surveillance camera leaving her waterside hotel in the tourist hotspot Myrtle Beach, had been treated as a missing person since she vanished seven years ago.

See images related to the case:

1 PHOTOS
Brittanee Drexel's 2009 Disappearance
See Gallery
New York teen who vanished in 2009 likely held captive, killed - FBI
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Drexel's case, which was featured on the Discovery Channel's "Disappeared" television show, has some similarities with the highly publicized vanishing of Mississippi teenager Natalee Holloway, whose fate is still a mystery.

Drexel's remains have not been found, and no one has been arrested in connection with her disappearance. After hundreds of interview and leads, investigators said they believe Drexel died in McClellanville, South Carolina, the last place Drexel's cell phone signal was traced to. McClellanville is a fishing town about an hour's drive south down the coast from Myrtle Beach.

"It is very difficult but the public needs to know, the family needs to know," said U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent in charge David Thomas, who spoke at a news conference from the remote area, which was streamed live on the web.

SEE ALSO: New report reveals colleges with most incidents of rape

Thomas declined to say how the FBI knew Drexel was dead or had been held captive. It was not clear whether the girl had chosen to travel to McClellanville from Myrtle Beach or if she was taken to the town against her will, he said.

Mother Dawn Drexel appealed on Wednesday to anyone who could help solve her daughter's case.

"After several long years of searching for my daughter, we know she isn't coming home alive," Drexel said during the news conference. "We need your help so we can find Brittanee's remains and lay her to rest."

A $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the capture and conviction of Drexel's killer or killers.

"We think we're at a point where one or two small pieces of information could put us over the edge," Thomas said.

In a similar case, Holloway vanished while on a high school graduation trip with friends to the Caribbean Island of Aruba in 2005. Despite strong public interest and the involvement of U.S. law enforcement, her case remains unsolved.

RELATED: Natalee Holloway's disappearance:

18 PHOTOS
Disappearance of Natalee Holloway
See Gallery
New York teen who vanished in 2009 likely held captive, killed - FBI
(Photo: FBI)
WASHINGTON - JUNE 08: Beth Holloway participates in the launch of the Natalee Holloway Resource Center on June 8, 2010 in Washington, DC. The non profit resource center was founded by Holloway and the National Museum of Crime & Punishment and was created to assist families of missing persons. Beth Holloway's daughter Natalee is the Alabama teen who disappeared five years ago in Aruba. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Joran Van der Sloot (C) of the Netherlands is escorted by the police as he is transferred from the police headquarters to the prosecutor's office in Lima June 10, 2010. An official at the Peruvian national police's criminal investigations unit told Reuters on Tuesday that Van der Sloot admitted he killed 21-year-old Stephany Flores, whose body was found in a Lima hotel room last week. REUTERS/Stringer (PERU - Tags: CRIME LAW)
(Photo: FBI)
Joran van der Sloot, 20, takes a walk to the local supermarket near the house of his parents in Oranjestad, Aruba, just after he was released from prison 07 December 2007. Van der Sloot was the prime suspect in the disappearance of US woman Natalee Holloway in May 2005 while she was on an end-of-school vacation. Van der Sloot who was one of the last people to see the woman alive was arrested twice, once in 2005 for three months to be questioned, and once more in November 2007. The case was thrown out due to lack of proof. AFP PHOTO / ANP PHOTO RAUL HENRIQUEZ NETHERLANDS OUT / BELGIUM OUT (Photo credit should read Raul Henriquez/AFP/Getty Images)
Beth Holloway, whose daughter Natalee disappeared five years ago in Aruba, speaks at the launch of the Natalee Holloway Resource Center (NHRC), a non-profit resource center created to assist the families of missing persons founded by Holloway and the National Museum of Crime & Punishment, in Washington June 8, 2010. Joran Van der Sloot, linked to the mysterious disappearance of Natalee in Aruba, has confessed to the murder of a female student in Peru, police said on Tuesday. Van der Sloot was arrested twice in the Holloway case, which was much publicized in the United States, but he was never charged due to insufficient evidence. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW SOCIETY)
MERIDIAN, MS - JUNE 6: Diane Jacob joins a prayer vigil at Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church for missing teen Natalie Holloway, who disappeared a week ago while on a senior trip to Aruba, June 6, 2005 in Meridian, Mississippi. Holloway's father, David Holloway, belongs to the church in the southern city of about 40,000 residents. A massive search for the teen along the coast of Aruba has ensued and two men have been charged in connection with her disappearance. (Photo by Marianne Todd/Getty Images)
Daily News front page June 3, 2010, Headline: NATALEE HOLLOWAY SHOCKER - FIEND'S ON RUN - Suspect hunted in new brutal hotel murder (Photo By: /NY Daily News via Getty Images)
(Photo: FBI)
Beth Holloway, whose daughter Natalee disappeared five years ago in Aruba, speaks at the launch of the Natalee Holloway Resource Center (NHRC), a non-profit resource center created to assist the families of missing persons founded by Holloway and the National Museum of Crime & Punishment, in Washington June 8, 2010. Joran Van der Sloot, linked to the mysterious disappearance of Natalee in Aruba, has confessed to the murder of a female student in Peru, police said on Tuesday. Van der Sloot was arrested twice in the Holloway case, which was much publicized in the United States, but he was never charged due to insufficient evidence. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW SOCIETY)
MERIDIAN, MS - JUNE 6: Jacki Curry holds her daughter, Jessica Curry, 19, during a prayer vigil at Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church for missing teen Natalie Holloway, who disappeared a week ago while on a senior trip to Aruba, June 6, 2005 in Meridian, Mississippi. Holloway's father, David Holloway, belongs to the church in the southern city of about 40,000 residents. A massive search for the teen along the coast of Aruba has ensued and two men have been charged in connection with her disappearance. (Photo by Marianne Todd/Getty Images)
MERIDIAN, MS - JUNE 6: Mayor John Robert Smith and his wife Kelly Smith join a prayer vigil Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church for missing teen Natalie Holloway, who disappeared a week ago while on a senior trip to Aruba, June 6, 2005 in Meridian, Mississippi. Holloway's father, David Holloway, belongs to the church in the southern city of about 40,000 residents. A massive search for the teen along the coast of Aruba has ensued and two men have been charged in connection with her disappearance. (Photo by Marianne Todd/Getty Images)
MERIDIAN, MS - JUNE 6: Mayor John Robert Smith and his wife Kelly Smith join a prayer vigil at Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church for missing teen Natalie Holloway, who disappeared a week ago while on a senior trip to Aruba, June 6, 2005 in Meridian, Mississippi. Holloway's father, David Holloway, belongs to the church in the southern city of about 40,000 residents. A massive search for the teen along the coast of Aruba has ensued and two men have been charged in connection with her disappearance. (Photo by Marianne Todd/Getty Images)
Dutch citizen Joran Van der Sloot waits for his trial to begin at the courtroom in the Lurigancho prison in Lima January 11, 2012. Van der Sloot, who was arrested but never charged in the 2005 disappearance of 18-year-old Alabama native Natalee Holloway on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba, has told police he killed 21-year-old business student Stephany Flores after meeting her in a casino in Lima. He may accept murder charges against him in a plea offer to judges on Wednesday in exchange for a reduced sentence, his lawyer said. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares (PERU - Tags: CRIME LAW POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Joran Van der Sloot of the Netherlands (C) is transferred by the police to the Justice Palace to be held temporarily before being moved to a prison in Lima June 11, 2010. An official at the Peruvian national police's criminal investigations unit told Reuters on Tuesday that Van der Sloot admitted he killed 21-year-old Stephany Flores, whose body was found in a Lima hotel room last week. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares(PERU - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
A woman looks at a newspaper headlines (UP) 22 November 2007, announcing the arrest of the main suspect in the 2005 disappearance of US teenager Natalee Holloway on the Caribbean island of Aruba, at Aruba Head. Joran van der Sloot, 20, was arrested in the Dutch city of Arnhem at the request of the authorities in Aruba, prosecutors said. Van der Sloot spent three months in jail in Aruba while being questioned over Holloway's disappearance, before being released due to a lack of evidence. AFP PHOTO / ANP PHOTO RAUL HENRIQUEZ - NETHERLANDS OUT - BELGIUM OUT (Photo credit should read Raul Henriquez/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo: FBI)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.