McCLELLANVILLE, SC (WCSC/WMBF) - More than 50 people searched a heavily wooded area in Charleston County Sunday, looking for clues in the disappearance of Brittanee Drexel.
Search crews used horses, ATV teams and K-9 units during the search for the missing New York teen. The Myrtle Beach Police Department is handling the investigation.
Between 50-75 people were involved in Sunday's search which began at 8 a.m. near the corner of Old Georgetown Road and Rutledge Road in McClellanville.
Dawn Drexel, Brittanee's mother, was present at the search. She said that Sunday's search was the 48th conducted since her daughter disappeared. She said she has attended all of them.
"It's mentally exhausting," Drexel said. "It's just very exhausting to come here and you know in these areas it's just all woods. You don't fathom your kid being out here, but it's just hard, very hard."
According to the Myrtle Beach Police Department, the group who led Sunday's search, the CUE Center for Missing Persons, decided to head to McClellanville because the area being searched Sunday had never been searched before.
Police say there were no new leads or specific reasons the group decided to search for Drexel Sunday.
Dawn Drexel also said that authorities from Charleston County, Kershaw County, Georgetown County and Tallahassee, Fla. were involved in the search.
"The organization that is searching for Brittanee today, that brought in a lot of the searchers, is the CUE Center for Missing Persons and it's just a big close-knit family. I mean they all want to find Brittanee."
Police say Drexel was last seen in the area of 11th Avenue South and 20th Avenue South in Myrtle Beach on April 25, 2009. Drexel was 17 at the time of her disappearance.
"We don't know where she is and not knowing is what really, really bothers you," Dawn Drexel said. "I've been actively involved in her case. There's a not a day that goes by that I don't think about different ideas or things that I would like the police to look at."
Search crews have launched efforts across the Myrtle Beach, but all efforts have been unsuccessful. A 70-person crew combed part of Georgetown County, locating a pair of Prada knock-off sunglasses near a body of water. Investigators say those sunglasses were the same as those worn by Drexel in a picture Drexel took with friends prior to her disappearance.
"They've gotten a lot of tips and leads from the community," Dawn Drexel said. "They're working and doing everything they possibly can to find my daughter."
Drexel's story gained national attention after the 17-year-old visited Myrtle Beach during spring break of 2009, and was never seen again.
Drexel and her friends were staying in the Bar Harbor Hotel along Ocean Boulevard that week in April. Drexel was caught on a surveillance camera around 8:15 p.m., Saturday, April 25, 2009, walking along the boulevard to visit friends staying at the Bluewater Resort.
Drexel was then recorded on the hotel's surveillance camera some thirty minutes later leaving the Bluewater Resort, returning to her hotel approximately 20 blocks away.
Somewhere within that 20 block walk, something would go very wrong, leaving police, family, and friends trying to put together the pieces of how Brittanee Drexel seemingly vanished.
Police received hundreds of tips concerning Drexel's whereabouts, all of which turned out to be nothing more than a dead end.
The CUE Center launched www.helpfindbrittaneedrexel.com in December.
CrimeStoppers of the Lowcountry continues to offer a reward for any information on Drexel's whereabouts. Anyone with information regarding the disappearance of Drexel is urged to contact the agency at 1-888-CRIME-SC.
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