Brittanee Drexel: Murdered or Victim of Human Trafficking?

Brittanee Drexel

In April 2009, 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel from Rochester, New York, asked her mother if she could go with friends down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for spring break, a common thing for Rochester teens to do every year. Her mother, Dawn Drexel, said no because she did not know the friends Brittanee was going with.

On April 24, 2009, Brittanee asked her mom if she could go with her friends to Charlotte Beach in New York state for the weekend. Dawn said yes.

The next day Brittanee phoned Dawn, who believed she was still at Charlotte Beach.

“Mom, I’ll see you tomorrow, I love you,”

In reality, Brittanee  and friends Jennifer Oberer, Philip Oberer, and Alanna Lippa, traveled to Myrtle Beach on April 24th. The group checked in to the Bar Harbor Resort on North Ocean Boulevard.

peter brozowitz
Peter Brozowitz

20-year-old club promoter, Peter Brozowitz (some reports refer to him as Broswick) and his friends, Matthew Abrams, Philip Watson, Keith Cummings, and Anthony Schimizzi – all from Rochester – were staying at the Blue Water Resort on South Ocean Boulevard, about 1.4 miles from where Brittanee and her friends were staying.

Brittanee was friends with Brozowitz back in Rochester. On April 24th, Brittanee and her group of friends went to Club Kryptonite, a Myrtle Beach nightclub located at U.S. 17 Bypass and 29th Avenue North, where they ran into Brozowitz and his friends.

Club Kryptonite
Club Kryptonite

The next morning on April 25th, between 11:00 a.m. and noon, Brittanee met Brozowitz and his gang on the beach near Blue Water Resort. Later that night, Brittanee met with the group again in their hotel room around 8 p.m.

Brittanee left Blue Water around 8:10 p.m. and has not been seen since, according to the police report.

As she headed to her hotel, she began texting her boyfriend back home, John Grieco. Around 9:15 p.m., the texts stop. John attempted to text her back but the texts went unanswered.

John sent her a text, threatening to call Dawn and tell her where Brittanee was if she did not respond back.

Brittanee never did.

John immediately called Dawn to tell her what was going on. Dawn began calling and texting Brittanee and her group of friends. All calls and texts to them went unanswered.

A few hours later, around 1 a.m. on April 26, Brozowitz and his friends hurriedly checked out of the Blue Water Resort and headed back to Rochester. Upon his arrival back in Rochester, Brozowitz immediately lawyered up.

Brozowith later went on the Dr. Phil Show in an attempt to clear his name.

During the investigation, it was revealed that Brittanee’s cell phone pinged more than once near the Georgetown County/Charleston County line shortly after her disappearance on April 25th.

Amost one year after Brittanee disappeared, a college student came forward with a cell phone video he recorded on April 24, 2009. In the video, Brittanee is seen sitting on the bed and in a chair on the balcony in his hotel room, texting. It is unclear why this student waited so long to come forward.

August 2011, authorities searched an apartment 22 at Sunset Lodge in Georgetown, SC, but released little details at the time. Residents referred to the man who lived there as “Mr. Clean” because of his appearance.

In 2012, police released the name of that man as a person of interest –  convicted sex offender, Raymond Moody. Moody, 53, resided in the apartment for six months following Brittanee’s disappearance.

Raymond Moody
Raymond Moody

Brittanee has never been found. Her family believes she is a victim of human trafficking. Others believe she was murdered and her body dumped in a swamp.

Human trafficking has become big in South Carolina in the last few years with Myrtle Beach being one of the major U.S. hubs. Police will not rule it out but that is not the main focus of the investigation and never has been.

Overall, from 1997-2010, South Carolina reported 12 cases of documented sex trafficking. Out of those cases, 12 individual women were victims of this crime, according to Doors to Freedom, an organization that helps victims of sex trafficking.

In 2005, Jose Hernandez-Becerra of Myrtle Beach, SC was charged with Prostitution/Brothel Owner and Sex Trafficking involving multiple victims.

In October 2009, Jorge Flores-Rojas was convicted of operating a sex trafficking business from Charlotte, NC to Washington D.C. He was arrested in Myrtle Beach.

Brittanee’s family set up a website to aid in their search for her.

One cannot stop believing that one day Brittanee will come home. We must believe anything is possible. Jaycee Dugard style= (affiliate link which) is a perfect example of that.

To read my opinion on this case, please click here.

Update: June 9, 2016: FBI believe Brittanee Drexel may have been held captive for several days and murdered.

Update: July 14, 2016: Police announced a suspect or suspects have been identified in Brittanee’s disappearance and possible murder. However, no names or additional details have been released so far.

Update: March 25, 2017K9 unit, excavator on scene of search for Brittanee Drexel’s remains in Georgetown County

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Author: truecrimediva

True crime blogger

  • James Combs

    Have any of ya’ll seen mentions of the name of the college student that videotaped Brittanee in his hotel room?

  • zac3673e7

    This is a very good report but how was she there when club kryptonite was closed years ago? Theres meany cams on the on the strip no way there more then 1 mi apart that place get so busy they would almost need them every qurter mile i mean i no this cuz iv live there for 11 years i pay close attention to things like that yall might wanna rethank on those cams between the hotels cuz something is missing in this story ut thank u for all ur hard work on this it can go far if people pay attention

    • Hi there! Brittanee disappeared in April 2009. Club Kryptonite closed in November 2009. Thanks for commenting!

  • Gina

    I hate to say this but she should have listened to her mother. Its murder beach, and as a local at the time she went missing we didnt go out by ourselves. Go as a group and you leave as a group. Many things happen at mb that can not be explained. Just like heather elvis case, one young females will learn to stick together at all times. Im sorry this happened and hope that she is safe.

    • Gina, I agree with your comment. There is safety in numbers usually, and in a place like that, one should never go anywhere alone. Thanks for commenting.

  • Amanda

    I’m actually from Rochester and FB friends with him so I can see all his posts. He didn’t delete anything from 2009. He has literally hundreds of posts & photos from that year. They’re probably just private. Good article though!

    • Thanks, Amanda! Oh, yeah that’s probably it. I read that he deleted them in an article so I included it in my post. Thanks for the info!

  • Lori Glisson

    Why is there no mention of the other guy that was arrested and released from mcclellanville which is beside the pole yard??? He was a person of interest as well, and his brother has already been in prison for this exact thing!!! It’s on YouTube and all, I will always believe he was involved in this! I’m from Georgetown and we have heard too many stories about this and her being her, I even thought I seen her at local car show right after this! I think this needs further investigation!

    • HI Lori! I’ll look more into that. Thanks!

      • Mae Sun

        Yes, his name is Shaun Taylor and he was a person of interest. He had come to our business to get a job and we researched him and that is how I got very involved in this case back then. Look him up, as I cannot copy the link here. He is from McClellanville SC area. 7/21/2010 was around the time he was arrested. He has a terrible reputation in the local area. Employees of ours were concerned we would hire him. I still think Peter B. is more of a suspect, but Shuan & gang are scary too.

        • Thanks for the info! I’ll look it up this afternoon. Very interesting stuff.

  • Michele

    Great job. I totally agree with you! However, the only thing that is weird that I never knew- why would she ask her mom if she could go to Charlotte Beach for the weekend? That is only 10 minutes from where she lived in Greece (Gates) NY and there is no where to stay there for the weekend. Its just a beach, no hotels, nothing to do. Weird that if that is what she told her mom, her mom would not think that is weird. No one goes to Charlotte beach for a weekend. They go there for a few hours. I could see her asking to go to Hamlin Beach which is also along Lake Ontario, about 30 minutes from where she lived and there is a campground there.

    • Hi Michele! That is strange. I’m not familiar with that area, so thanks for that. Can they camp there or nearby? Maybe her mom just assumed she was going to a friend’s house afterwards?

      • jessica

        There is nowhere to camp legally around there. I have my own opinions on this, the fact that u brought up her mom said that she was going to Charlotte jut furthers my suspicions !!! Ty for the article it was very interesting

  • Mark Jones

    Phil Oberer knows something. Kid is scum

  • Dawn Haines

    Wow from everything I’ve read in your post it’s crazy to even imagine what her mom and her family are going thru I can only speak for myself if it was me and my own child who’s also a Brittany I think I would of lost it a long time ago.Dawn Drexel is a very strong woman and I have a strong admiration for her.I honestly hope they find brittanee or at least information as to what happened to her.I hope the ppl who were with her come forward and give more information as to what happened so Dawn and her family can finally have either peace or closure.My thoughts and prayers are with the Drexel family.

    • I feel for this family, too, Dawn. I can’t imagine either, but we can only hope that someone will come forward one day or LE gets a fresh lead. Brittanee deserves justice and to be brought home.

  • phil dials

    I grew up in southern WV and myrtle beach was the place all graduating seniors went for their last hangout before going their seperate ways. I have heard myrtle beach is a place where human trafficking is happening. We need to educate our children on the dangers that come along with drinking. All you ever hear about os drunk driving, well in my opinion there is alot more to worry about other than driving under the influence. The decisions these kids make ae e killing them. When you drink you tend to put yourself in bad situations. You think your freinds will look out for you but they are drinking also and it looks like brittanee had the same so called aquaintenses I hope they find her bit I follow your thinking that one of these aquintenses (I refuse to call them her freinds) is responsible for whatever has happened to her.

    • I agree, Phil! These kids think nothing will happen to them. Any place that is a Spring Break destination is dangerous and kids should be more careful.

  • elizabeth

    Nice commentary and I agree with you about the weak link. Years ago there was a terrible multiple murder mess in Austin, TX that infamously became known as the Yogurt Shop Murders. It was a horrific ordeal and there were tons of strange details, motives, suspects. .. all ending in a cold case that went unsolved for years. Two guys eventually spilled the beans by talking smack in a bar one night, hopefully something will happen like that for this girl. A guilty or stupid person will open their mouth and break the case.

    • Thanks, Elizabeth! It’s funny that you mentioned the Yogurt Shop Murders! I was just reading about them not too long ago! That was awful. You know, a lot of cases get solved because the killer or killers open their mouth, especially when they’ve been drinking. How stupid is that! That would be great if it happened in this case. I can totally see that!

  • s_v_c

    Great write-up!  This case has always bothered me.  I agree that it’s incredibly odd that her friend wanted the shorts returned immediately… in the pictures presented of what she was wearing when she disappeared, they were extremely basic looking black shorts.  And she had just left her own hotel room shortly before… She was only at the Blue Water for such a brief time.
    I’d also read that the friends she was there with were actively “mean girl’ing” Brittanee during this trip, and IIRC, that they were a bit older than her and were not part of her usual group.  I’d also read that they also did not contribute to helping the search for Brittanee and never appeared overly concerned about her disappearance. 
    I’d be interested to know more what the circumstances were surrounding her going away with this group of friends – was there any previous history/conflict?  Did they invite here, or did she invite herself along?

    • truecrimediva

      Hi! Thanks for commenting! Great comment and you make some interesting points. I think there is more to this group of “friends” than we may ever know. She didn’t hang out with them much before, I’m guessing, because her mother didn’t know them. So, the fact that they invited her down there AND she just happened to disappear is not a coincidence. But I also think Peter knows more than he’s saying as well.