Crews begin aerial mapping in Brittanee search

Law enforcement and friends of Brittanee Drexel watch as the Charleston County Sheriff's Office lands its helicopter Thursday afternoon in Georgetown County.

/ Graeme Moore

Updated: 5:09pm Thursday. Thursday afternoon crews prepared to go up in a helicopter from the Charleston County Sheriff's Office to begin aerial mapping in the search for 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel.

They will be mapping search zones around the cell tower where Brittanee's cell phone last gave a signal Saturday, April 25th.

As part of the renewed search, mounted horse search teams began arriving in Georgetown County to help in the search.

The Laura Recovery Center for Missing Children out of Texas and the CUE Center for Missing Persons sent out alerts to volunteer horse units on Wednesday, and they expect as many as 100 teams could be on the ground by Saturday.

The Darlington County Sheriff's office sent its Mounted Patrol Unit with two horses and three officers. River View Farms out of Little River has four horses, and two volunteers from Loris have arrived.

The searchers are scouring areas around the North Santee River community in southern Georgetown County for any signs of Drexel. The Rochester, NY, native was on Spring Break in Myrtle Beach when she vanished around 8:45 p.m. Saturday, April 25, after leaving the Blue Water Resort on Ocean Boulevard.

Myrtle Beach Police were able to pick up a signal that Drexel's cell phone beamed to a tower a few hours later near the Santee Rivers in Georgetown County. The cell phone communicated with the tower the following day, on Sunday, but there has been no activity from it since.

That's been the strongest lead according to detectives, and it led searchers to begin combing the area by Tuesday of that week, but an exhaustive search by foot, on boat and on ATVs for the better part of the week turned up nothing.

The next step will be using the horses which searchers say provides a better viewpoint.

"Right now they are our best resource, and we are going to continue utilizing them through Saturday," said Monica Caison with the CUE center.

Caison is asking for more horse patrols and asks anyone interested in volunteering to call the CUE Center at 910-232-1687.