(NEW YORK) — Raymond Moody, the man who confessed to killing missing teenager Brittanee Drexel in 2009 while she was on a spring break trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday. Moody was also sentenced to 30 years in prison for kidnapping Drexel and 30 years in prison for raping her.
Moody confessed in May to killing 17-year-old Drexel and led law enforcement to her remains. He had been a person of interest in the killing for over 10 years.
Moody was put on law enforcement’s radar in 2011 when a family member of Drexel contacted law enforcement and suggested that they may want to investigate him as he was living in nearby Georgetown, South Carolina, around the time of Drexel’s disappearance.
On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, forcible kidnapping, and murder by means of manual strangulating.
In exchange for his guilty plea, the state dropped an obstruction of justice charge against Moody.
In April 2009, Drexel, of Chili, New York, told her mother she would be spending a few days at a friend’s house in Rochester, New York, when she in fact went away on a spring break trip in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, without permission.
The last footage of Drexel showed her leaving a hotel on April 25, 2009.
Investigators revealed they reexamined cell phone data and surveillance footage in 2019 and 2020 and were able to determine the exact location of Drexel’s cell phone at certain positions.
Investigators’ major break in the case came when they were able to pinpoint her exact location when something happened to her. Drexel’s cell phone was moving at walking speed, then it began moving at a speed of 55 mph, leading investigators to determine that she was then in a vehicle.
When investigators examined the timeline of her disappearance, matching when she went from walking and getting in a vehicle to the last seen surveillance footage of Drexel, they were able to locate a vehicle in the corner of the video. After pinpointing the last walking cell phone ping and first vehicle speed ping, video reviewed by investigators showed only one vehicle on the road passing Drexel’s location in that time.
Police were able to link that vehicle to Moody and eventually Moody admitted to police that he was the person driving that vehicle.
Investigators also worked with Angel Vause, Moody’s girlfriend, who wore a wire as investigators focused on Moody. After obtaining a search warrant and searching Moody’s residence, investigators were unable to find anything of evidentiary value. But, FBI investigators did have a face-to-face conversation with Moody when they were executing the search.
Investigators informed Moody that he and Vause were the subject of the investigation and Moody agreed to sit down for an interview. Moody then confessed to the murder of Drexel in that interview on May 5, 2022.
Drexel’s family members spoke at Moody’s hearing Wednesday, tearfully asking the judge to sentence him to the fullest extent of the law.
“You will forever carry the scars of what my daughter did to you and I hope you are haunted by what you did to her. Today no one wins,” Dawn Drexel, Brittanee’s mother, said speaking at the hearing Wednesday.
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