Body of Brittanee Drexel, N.Y. Teen Who Vanished in 2009, Found in South Carolina — and Suspect Is Charged

Investigators believe Brittanee Drexel was killed before being buried on April 26, 2009

Authorities in South Carolina have recovered the long-missing remains of Brittanee Drexel, the 17-year-old New York girl who vanished while on a 2009 spring break trip to Myrtle Beach.

Georgetown County Sheriff Carter Weaver announced during a Monday press conference that Drexel's body was found on May 11 — and that police have charged 62-year-old Raymond Moody with murder.

Drexel's parents were present for Monday's announcement.

"This is truly a mother's worst nightmare," Dawn Drexel told reporters. "I am mourning my beautiful daughter today, as I have for the last 13 years. We are much closer to the peace that I have been hoping for."

In addition to the murder charge, Moody is also charged with with kidnapping and sexual misconduct.

This undated photo provided by the Myrtle Beach, S.C., Police Department shows Brittanee Drexel. Authorities in South Carolina are holding a news conference Wednesday, June 8, 2016, to talk about the case of the New York teen who disappeared during a 2009 spring break trip to Myrtle Beach. (Myrtle Beach Police Department via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Brittanee Drexel. Myrtle Beach Police Department via AP

Weaver said his officers "mourn with you and pray with you as you cope with the tragedies of 13 years ago. No one deserves to go through this, and our heart goes out to you.

All of Moody's alleged crimes took place on April 25, 2009, Weaver said.

Brittanee Drexel suspected killer Raymond Moody. Georgetown County Sheriff's Office
Raymond Moody. Georgetown County Sheriff's Office

Investigators believe Brittanee was killed before being buried on April 26, 2009.

Moody has been in custody on $100,000 bail since his May 4 arrest on an obstruction charge.

He had been identified as a possible person of interest in the investigation way back in 2012.

Weaver said that Brittanee's remains were identified through dental records.

A cause of death was not discussed. Weaver did not take questions from reporters.

Speaking at the press conference, Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock said that finding Brittanee's remains was bittersweet, as authorities had been hoping for a happier ending.

Drexel was still a high school student when she left her hometown of Chili, N.Y., with friends for Myrtle Beach, where she planned to visit relatives. But her parents had no idea she was traveling so far.

"I didn't know she was going," her mother, Dawn, previously told PEOPLE. "The day she left she was angry with me because she asked me if she could go and I told her no. I said, 'There's no adults going and I have no idea who these kids are and I don't feel comfortable with it.' "

"I told her I just felt something was going to happen to her," Dawn said. "I just felt it."

Drexel was last seen on surveillance video leaving a beachfront hotel in Myrtle Beach.

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According to the Democrat and Chronicle, Moody is a registered sex offender who spent 21 years in prison following a 1983 abduction and rape case in California involving a 9-year-old girl.

His previous bond has been revoked, and he is now being held with no bail.

Moody has not yet entered pleas to the charges, and it was unclear if he had an attorney.

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