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Law enforcement has made an arrest in the 13-year missing person case of Brittanee Drexel after her body had been recovered in a wooded area in South Carolina.
For the past 13 years, Drexel’s family was led by local law enforcement, the FBI, and media to believe that Timothy Taylor was involved in the kidnapping, sexual assault, and dumping of the then teen’s body in an alligator pit.
“His name and face will forever be linked to Brittanee Drexel because of a lie,” Taylor’s mother said at the news conference last week. “That pain is beyond words. We’re not relieved. We’re enraged that it took this long.”
Timothy Taylor Has Always Maintained His Innocence
In 2009, a 17-year-old Drexel was vacationing in Myrtle Beach when she went missing. Law enforcement did not have many leads in the case besides the fact that Drexel’s cell phone last pinged near McClellanville, South Carolina.
An FBI agent testified in 2016 that Drexel had been kidnapped, gang raped, fatally shot, and then dumped into an alligator pit.
That agent got his information from a jailhouse informant. A man who was eight months into a 25-year sentence told FBI agents that he allegedly saw Taylor “sexually abusing” Drexel, along with other men, at a “stash house” near McClellanville.
Taylor was indicted on federal charges for an unrelated robbery that he had already been convicted for and sentenced at the state level. His lawyers suggested that he faced the extra charges because the FBI wanted him to give up information about Drexel’s disappearance in exchange for a lighter sentence.
His name and image was paraded around by the media as a suspect in the disappearance of Drexel, despite no hard evidence supporting the claims.
“By that point, the damage has been done,” Taylor’s mother said at the news conference.
Taylor was never charged in connection to Drexel’s disappearance.
Suspect Arrested and Charged
Last week Raymond Moody, was charged with murder, kidnapping, and first-degree criminal sexual conduct after Drexel’s remains were found.
Law enforcement did not reveal how they determined Moody, who is a convicted serial sex offender, to be a suspect or what led to his arrest.
“This is truly a mother’s worst nightmare. I am mourning my beautiful daughter, Brittanee, as I have been for 13 years,” Drexel’s mother said. “But today it’s bittersweet. We are much closer to the closure and the peace that we have been desperately hoping for.”
Taylor’s mother expressed condolences to the Drexel family, and called on law enforcement to end the practices that villainized her son for over a decade.
“We understand the tragic loss of Brittanee, of her life, and it has changed her family forever. As a mother of three, I truly understand. It pains me to even think about losing a child…I call for law enforcement to halt the practice of disclosing unfounded leads and names of potential suspects without credible evidence. Doing this has real life consequences and a lasting effect on so many, particularly us Black families.”