Family of Father and Son Once Suspected in Brittanee Drexel Murder Speak Out After Different Man's Arrest

Investigators have not commented on the damaging allegations made in open court against Timothy Da'Shaun Taylor back in 2016

Family of Timothy Taylor speaks on Brittanee Drexel case
Timothy Taylor's parents speak to the media. Photo: WSAV3

When South Carolina authorities announced closure was imminent for murdered teen Brittanee Drexel's family following the arrest of sex offender Raymond Moody, there was no mention of Timothy Da'Shaun Taylor — but the disabled man's family doesn't want you to forget about him.

Taylor had to go on the defensive in 2016 after his name surfaced during a run-of-the-mill court proceeding. As an arraignment judge was weighing whether to free him as he awaited trial on unrelated robbery charges, a detective investigating the 17-year-old soccer star's 2009 disappearance and presumed death testified that Taylor was directly connected to the heinous crime.

But, as Taylor has long maintained, he had nothing at all to do with Drexel's killing. On May 17, authorities charged Moody, 62, with individual counts of murder, kidnapping, and criminal sexual misconduct after he both confessed to the killing and led police to the wooded area where he buried Brittanee back on April 26, 2009 — the very day after he abducted her from the Myrtle Beach strip.

Drexel had been in South Carolina for a spring break getaway with friends — unbeknownst to her parents, who were back in rural New York.

In announcing Moody's arrest, authorities failed to recognize the dubious claims that were made in court against the one-armed Taylor — based on information furnished by a prison informant who has since admitted to inventing the entire story, which had Taylor and his dad abducting and later killing Brittanee before dumping her remains in an alligator pit.

Taylor, who is Black, was not present for a press conference held last week, during which his relatives spoke out about the impact of the false allegations.

"The years-long fight against false accusations and the media frenzy has traumatized us, affecting every aspect of our lives," explained Taylor's mother, Joan. "It has publicly questioned, without reason, our family, our family's character and it has shaken us to the core."

The visibly emotional mother reiterated that Taylor had nothing to do with the murder. "Our family stood by him and consistently spoke out against the false accusations that too often are directed at people who look like us," she said. "An age old story in America."

Joan said that her heart breaks for Brittanee's parents, and related how the 2016 court testimony has irrevocably damaged her son's name.

"Doing this has real life consequences and a lasting disparaging effect on so many, particularly us, Black families," she said. "And we suffered the ramifications of being falsely accused far too long."

Taylor, Joan said, would speak publicly soon about the injustice perpetrated against him.

Rev. Dr. Lawrence Bratton also spoke about what the family has endured because of the flimsy claims made against Taylor.

"This family has been devastated," Bratton said. "Ruined for the last 15 years — emotionally, psychologically, financially and in every way that you can imagine, down to the next generation."

The community, Bratton noted, supported Taylor and his relatives, even in the face of intense scrutiny.

"What you see today is a family that has been devastated by the justice system," he said. "Following investigations is one thing, but deliberately and intentionally making them strange fruit that is hung before the court system at the hand of a gavel and unjust investigators is definitely unfair."

The FBI commented on the 2016 accusations in a statement to WIS-TV.

"Throughout the investigation, law enforcement followed multiple leads to wherever they led us, all in efforts to find Brittanee," it reads. "We have an obligation to follow leads to their conclusion. To that end, the person we believe is responsible for Brittanee's murder has been arrested and charged."

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Taylor's relatives failed to mention at the press conference whether a civil lawsuit was in the works. Court records show there has been no such filing yet.

Moody is being held without bail, and has not yet entered pleas to the charges.

PEOPLE has been unable to identify his lawyer.

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.

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