GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – The Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office says Raymond Moody, a long-time person of interest in the disappearance of 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel back in 2009, confessed to killing Drexel before leading officials to her body. 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson says detectives had been working the new angle over the last few months.
“Everything was in high gear,” says Richardson. “The guys, (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Chief) Mark Keel called me Saturday afternoon and said it’s ‘Brittanee’s bones'”.
New information related to the 2009 disappearance of 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel was presented to officials which led to the break in the case. Investigators aren’t yet revealing what the details were, but say it was likely their last ditch effort to find Drexel’s murderer.
“We were able to make a lot of headway that we hadn’t made before,” says Richardson referring to the last two weeks since Moody’s arrest.
Moody was arrested in Georgetown County on May 4th for an Obstruction of Justice charge related to Drexel disappearance on April 25th, 2009. Deputies say Moody would later confess to the crimes, and finding Drexel’s remains was the last piece to put the case together for investigators.
“I pretty much knew at that point but knowing and being able to prove are two different things,” says Richardson. “We had quite a bit of evidence that turned us on Moody.”
13 years without answers, retired FBI Special Agent Bobby Chacon says the length of the open case presents challenges in collecting forensics and evidence. Chacon says oftentimes, people become more willing to talk to investigators after years of silence.
“What jumps out at me is patience because the person that’s currently charged in this case was a person of interest from day one,” says Chacon.
The investigation into Drexel’s death has been a roller coaster ride focusing on several people and while Moody allegedly confessed, Chacon says the confession has to be backed up with information and details only a suspect would know.
“You take a confession and it’s great but you also have to verify that confession,” says Richardson. “You have to make sure it’s valid, especially in a case where you’ve had multiple people of interest.”
Richardson says as the new details emerged, prosecutors and law enforcement worked to build an air-tight case. The attention now rests on securing justice.
“You know it’s not going to bring her back,” says Richardson. “It is a form of punishment, it’s a form of closure.”
Richardson says because Moody waived a bond hearing and arraignment, the next thing is deciding whether there will be a plea deal or jury trial. If it heads to court, Moody faces 30 years to life in prison for each charge.