IT has been 13 years since Brittanee Drexel mysteriously vanished while celebrating spring break with friends.
The 17-year-old was last seen leaving a hotel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in April 2009 but never returned to the motel she was staying in.
The junior’s disappearance sparked a furious search effort as family members and investigators tried to find her.
No one has been arrested or charged in connection with her disappearance and her body hasn’t been found.
But, more than a decade on, Drexel's family is holding hope for justice.
The Sun sheds light on the mystery surrounding Drexel’s disappearance.
GANG RAPE CLAIMS
Drexel was last seen on April 25 2009 and CCTV footage captured the moment she left the Blue Water Resort.
Her last text was to her boyfriend, who was in New York. He responded to the message.
But, she failed to reply and 10 minutes later her partner called Drexel’s mom Dawn Pleckan who reported the case to the police.
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A pair of sunglasses similar to ones belonging to Drexel was found but the accessory couldn’t be linked to the teen.
Jimmy Richardson, the 15th Circuit Solicitor, said: “We continuously have people tell us certain things about the case. Sometimes there’s nothing to it. Sometimes, it’s the holy grail.”
The case seemed to go cold until 2016.
Years after Drexel first disappeared, FBI agents believe that she was held against her will and murdered.
Derrick Munoz testified during a court hearing about an unrelated robbery case, PEOPLE revealed.
Munoz told the court that inmate Taquan Brown claimed he saw Drexel at a house in McClellanville – located around 60 miles from the hotel – days after the teen vanished.
Brown later told News10NBC that Drexel had a “black eye”.
He also alleged that she was being sexually assaulted.
Brown claimed he saw Drexel get “pistol-whipped” and taken back into the home, according to Munoz's testimony.
He revealed he heard gunshots moments later.
Brown revealed the next time he saw Drexel her body was being wrapped up and removed from the home.
'DUMPED' IN ALLIGATOR PIT
Munoz also revealed in court that witnesses told police that Drexel’s body was placed in a pit.
But, cops and FBI agents combed up to as many as 40 alligator ponds but didn’t find any remains.
Munoz told the court that there may have been 30 or 40 places Drexel could’ve been taken to.
Investigators said that the search for her body was “difficult”.
Another inmate alleged Drexel was picked up in Myrtle Beach and taken to McClellanville.
Munoz said it was in the area where her phone signal last pinged.
He told the court: “They ended up tricking her out with some of their friends, offering her to them and getting a human trafficking situation.”
CALLS FOR JUSTICE
Drexel’s family are hoping for justice – more than a decade after the spring breaker disappeared.
Pleckan told WPDE: “We’re hoping that eventually with working close with the FBI that we’ll be able to go ahead and get… find Brittanee so we can go ahead and lay her to rest.
"That we can get the people who have done this to her and bring them to justice.”
She said that she’s trying not to get frustrated, according to WHAM-TV.
In 2016, Pleckan said: "Brittanee's life was stolen from her in a brutal and senseless fashion."
The FBI says the case is still active.
Spokesman Kevin Wheeler said: “Out of respect for the ongoing investigation, we will continue to refrain from commenting on its substance.”
A reward of $25,000 has been offered for information.
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Investigators urge people to come forward if they have any details – even if they don’t think it will add to the probe.
Anyone with information should call 1-800-CALL-FBI or file a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.
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