The investigation into what happened to missing New York teen Brittanee Drexel continues Friday, as family and friends mark the five year anniversary of her disappearance.
Drexel was in Myrtle Beach for Spring Break when she was last seen on surveillance video leaving the Bluewater Resort, walking North on Ocean Boulevard.
Since her disappearance, Myrtle Beach Police have conducted numerous searches based off of information and leads in the case. The most recent search, according to Capt .David Knipes with the Myrtle Beach Police Department, occurred about a month ago in Georgetown County.
Knipes says the need for an executed search was warranted by new information and technology updates, allowing investigators to revisit old information in the case. Knipes says improvements in cell phone technology have allowed investigators to analyze new data.
Additional searches are planned for the future, according to authorities.
"If she's still out there, we need to find her," the teen's mother, Dawn Drexel, said Friday. "Someone needs to come forward and let us know what happened that night she went missing. We know someone knows something."
While the case remains open and active, an official suspect has yet to be named in connection to Drexel’s disappearance. Knipes says his department has not excluded anyone from their list of persons of interest.
Currently a lead investigator and two additional investigators are handling the case. In its five year span, the Myrtle Beach Police Department has assigned three different lead investigators to the case.
Officials say Drexel’s case continues to receive a “steady stream” of tips. Knipes says the Heather Elvis case has provided a renewed interest in the Drexel investigation.
"Five years is a long time," Dawn said. "It's kind of bittersweet. You never think your child's going to go missing, and when they do, it's like your whole world turns upside down and its changed forever."
The Drexel family has made numerous trips to-and-from Brittanee’s hometown of Rochester, NY, over the last five years. Dawn Drexel, Brittanee’s mother, recently relocated to Myrtle Beach to be closer to the investigation and has started working with the CUE Center for Missing Persons as a state director. The organization has played an instrumental part in searching for the 17-year-old.
"[Monica Caison and the CUE Center has] done so much for me that it's my way of giving back to her, and also supporting other families that have missing children," Dawn explained when asked about her role with the agency. "We have quite a few in this area."
A candlelight vigil will be held to mark the anniversary of the teen’s disappearance on Friday at 7:30 p.m. by her memorial tree in Market Common.
If you have any information on where Drexel may be, please contact the Myrtle Beach Police Department, or the CUE Center for Missing Persons at 910-232-1687.
"I think she's being held against her will, and that's all I'm going to say," Dawn said. "We just want a resolution to her case. I still have hope that Brittanee's out there just because of what I know and how I feel."