Mystery over Brittanee Drexel's cause of death in shock autopsy result after Raymond Moody's arrest for teen's murder
BRITTANEE Drexel's cause of death has been ruled inconclusive following a shocking autopsy – after a convicted pedophile was arrested and charged for her murder.
On May 18, police charged Raymond Moody, 62, with the murder of Brittanee, 17, after her skeletal remains were found some 13 years after she went missing while on spring break in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
On Tuesday, the Georgetown County Corners Office confirmed the remains were those of Brittanee's; however, they ruled her cause of death as“undetermined,"
“It was during this examination that the remains were confirmed to be that of Brittanee Drexel, which was collaborated by a DNA analysis performed by SLED," Coroner Chase Ridgeway said.
"Due to the condition of the remains, manual strangulation could not be confirmed.”
Prosecutors previously said that Brittanee died by strangulation.
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Brittanee, who was 17 when she went missing, was visiting friends in Myrtle Beach while on spring break.
The teen, originally from New York, was last seen leaving the Blue Water Resort in April 2009 and never returned to the motel she was staying in.
Her phone last gave off a signal on April 26, 2009, in Georgetown County.
In August 2011, investigators combed through the Georgetown hotel room Moody was staying in, removing several bags of evidence but never identifying him as a suspect.
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Moody claimed he was not in the area when the teen went missing. Yet, in 2012, investigators discovered he was issued a traffic ticket in nearby Surfside Beach the day after Drexel’s disappearance.
On May 4, authorities arrested Moody on an obstruction of justice charge connected to the teen's disappearance.
Moody later allegedly admitted to killing Brittanee and told investigators where she was buried, the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office said.
On May 11, investigators recovered her remains in a wooded area of Harmony Township, about 40 miles south of Myrtle Beach, GCSO said.
GIRLFRIEND'S SUPPORT FOR MOODY
In a shocking twist, the suspect appears to have been living a double life, as he has a long-term partner of "almost 15 years", Angel Vause, 54, who lives at their shared home.
Asked if she's still supporting him, she exclusively told The Sun: "Well, of course, I will."
Through tears, she went on: "I'm shocked, I'm stunned, but I don't really know that side of him. I know the person he was with me. He was fantastic to me."
Asked why she stood by him despite the investigation, his partner Angel said: "I mean, they never had anything, dropped everything, let it go.
"So nothing came of it again until a week or two before he was arrested."
Asked if she's concerned people will think she knew of the murder, she insisted she was well-known in the local area and friends and family support her story.
Despite not splitting from Moody, Angel, who works as a nurse, said she is heartbroken for Brittanee's family, revealing: "I lost a child who was 16 years old, he was in a car wreck.
"I'm devastated for the family. I'm so sorry. But like I said, I didn't know that part of him.
"I would've described him as a kind, gentle man who gives you the shirt off his back. He loved."
Kerri Harding, now 48, was just eight years old when she was kidnapped by Moody from a playground in Vallejo, California, in the winter of 1983.
For several hours she was repeatedly assaulted and abused by Moody inside his car, leaving her bruised, bloodied, and certain she would never live to see her family again.
"I for sure thought he was going to kill me," Kerri told The US Sun during an emotional interview after Moody was charged on Monday for murdering Drexel and led cops to her body.
"I feel like had I not managed to persuade him to let me out of his car to go to the bathroom, I never would've made it out alive."
Earlier that morning, Kerri had spoken to one of her friends on the phone. The two girls arranged to meet at their school, just a few yards down the road, to play together on the playground.
As she started walking across the school's parking lot, a man – who she would later identify to be Moody – approached her and warned, "you can't go back there because they're working on the fence".
Having been instructed never to speak to a stranger, Kerri dutifully ignored the man and continued to walk past him as he bounced a basketball next to his car.
The man's warning about the fence turned out to be true, so she turned around and went to walk back towards the street when he suddenly unlocked the passenger's side of his car and bundled her inside.
"Everything happened in the blink of an eye," Kerri said. "He had me in his car and had driven away within seconds."
Moody forced Kerri into the well of the passenger seat, holding her head down with one hand as he kept the other on the steering wheel.
The young girl desperately pleaded with Moody, asking him where he was taking her.
"You're too little to be out here by yourself," Moody allegedly barked back. "I'm taking you to the police station."
A HORRIFIC ORDEAL
Kerri would soon realize that Moody was not taking her to the police station but rather to an undeveloped housing site around three miles away from her home.
Kerri said Moody parked the car, turned to her, and said: "Has anyone told you, you have a beautiful body?"
The words, which continue to haunt Kerri to this day, were followed by: "Let's get into the back, we're going to screw," she said.
"I was eight, I didn't even know what he meant," Kerri said. "So at that point, I didn't realize what was going to happen until it happened.
"And it was horrific."
Kerri was brutally and repeatedly raped by Moody in the back of his car over a period of several hours.
Believing she was certain to die, Kerri continually told Moody she needed to go the bathroom, hoping that if he'd agree to let her out of the car, she may be able to make a break for it.
"Eventually, he agreed to let me go to the bathroom," she recounted. "And so he opened the back door and told me to squat right next to the car while he gripped onto my hair.
"When I squatted down, a pool of blood came pouring out of me and just got bigger and bigger.
"When he saw it, he briefly let go of my here and I just took off running."
In the distance, Kerri could see a couple touring the housing site with a realtor. She headed towards them, screaming and crying, "I was kidnapped," as Moody sped away in his car.
"I just fell and collapsed into the woman's arms," Kerri said through tears. "They drove me to a construction trailer where they called police and my family."
It wouldn't be until she got to the hospital that Kerri's family realized that not only had she been kidnapped, but she had also been raped.
The horror of Kerri's ordeal devastated her relatives. Almost 40 years on, the image of her grandparents, parents and uncles breaking down in tears when they were told what had happened still brings Kerri's emotions racing back to the surface.
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"I come from a family of very strong people," Kerri said, her voice quivering with emotion. "My uncles were very strong men, and to see them devastated like that and feeling so helpless, that’s something I’ll never forget as long as I live.
"Your family is your strength. I feel like the men in my family were never afraid of anything. And then all of a sudden this happens and they just couldn’t deal with it."
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