The mother of missing teen Brittanee Drexel issued a statement following the finding of human skeletal remains off Tidewater Road in Horry County this weekend. The bones were scattered over a 100-foot patch of ground about six miles from where the New York teen was last seen in 2009. Dawn Drexel asked for patience while investigators went about their work identifying the remains.
Via WMBF (in Myrtle Beach) Dec. 30: "I would like to thank everyone for their concern and support for my daughter, Brittanee in the recent discovery made in Horry County South Carolina. There are many missing children and adults in the region who have families suffering in anticipation the this latest news and who along side of our family await for a resolution as well.
"I ask at this time to please wait for investigators to make a positive identification and be allowed to do their job. We need to respect the process along with the realization this could be any of our missing loved ones.
"I encourage all media to re visit the case files and feature our missing. It is so vital to keep these cases out in the public.
The remains have been confirmed as human by Horry County coroner Robert Edge. He said the larger bones were being packaged and shipped to Texas for DNA testing.
The skeletal remains were found by a man helping in the search for 20-year-old Heather Elvis, who has been missing since mid-December.
Blakley West, a member of the team that found the skeletal remains, told WBTW in Florence, "It's something you don't expect to find. Once we saw what we saw we backed everybody out of the area, we went back to Tidewater Road and what was found, we called the police, we stayed away from anything that could contaminate a crime scene. There were some members that were deep in the woods and we asked them as they came in to go back out and re-trace their steps so police officers could trace back in on those same steps."
West and his group had formed after a woman posted to Facebook that she was going out in search of Heather Elvis and invited others to join her.
Besides Heather Elvis, 24-year-old Jamie Lynn Cross was reported missing on Christmas Day by her sister. She was last seen getting into a green Volkswagen outside her Myrtle Beach home with an unknown driver.
The Brittanee Drexel story grabbed national headlines back in 2009 after the Rochester, N. Y., teen slipped off to Myrtle Beach without her parents' permission. She was last seen when she left the Bar Harbor Hotel in Myrtle Beach to meet friends at the nearby BlueWater Resort. Surveillance footage from April 25 of that year captured the 17-year-old arriving at the resort, then leaving approximately ten minutes later.
Dawn Drexel has helped organize searches and remembrance gatherings in the Myrtle Beach area in the intervening years in efforts to find her missing daughter.