MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) - Four years ago Thursday, then 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel walked out of a Myrtle Beach hotel, never to be heard from again. Brittanee's family gathered at a tree planted in her honor at Grand Park at The Market Common to mark the anniversary. A small group planted forget-me-nots around it, representing her family's resolve to keep her memory alive until the case is solved.
"I never in my wildest dreams ever thought my child would go missing, but now look where I am," shared Dawn Drexel, Brittanee's mother.
On April 25, 2009 spring breaker Brittanee Drexel walked out of the Blue Water Resort on Ocean Boulevard to go back to the motel she was staying in, but she never made it there.
"It feels like the first day she went missing. It's been a long difficult road, but we're still holding out hope Brittanee is still out there," said Dawn. "I take it day by day. You know some days are more difficult than others."
The last cell phone ping from Brittanee's phone came from the Georgetown/Charleston County line. Since then, law enforcement and the CUE Center for Missing Persons out of North Carolina have performed extensive searches. The case is active, but her family still doesn't have answers.
"This is where the answers lie. This is where it started. South Carolina holds the key to where Brittanee Drexel is, so it's important for the parents and family members to keep hope alive by continuing to get the word out and reminding people to please call the proper numbers and get that information to law enforcement," said Monica Caison, with CUE. "Nothing is ever the same. They can't begin to heal until they get their loved one back, and that's as simple as it gets."
While the Drexels have received a lot of community support, Dawn says there are people who don't understand why she just doesn't move on. "I don't pay attention to the negativity, because I know in my heart I'm not going to stop searching for Brittanee. And I don't really care what they say, because they don't live my life. They're not going through what I'm going through, so they don't know. They have no idea, and if it happened to them, you know, how would they feel if someone was going to say something like that to them?"
Dawn added she misses her daughter's smile and joking around with her. Her family also held a candlelight vigil in Rochester, New York, their hometown.
If anyone has information of the whereabouts of Brittanee Drexel or concerning her disappearance is asked to call the Myrtle Beach Police Department at (843) 918-1963 or CUE Center For Missing Persons 24 Hour Tip Line (910) 232-1687.