A 17-year-old girl who was abducted in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in 2009 was gang-raped, shot to death and tossed into a swamp filled with alligators, according to the FBI.
A prison inmate told FBI agent Gerrick Munoz he was present when Brittanee Drexel was raped and murdered, according to a federal court transcript obtained by Charleston’s Post and Courier. The inmate, Taquan Brown, is currently serving a 25-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter.
The report notes that state and local investigators have been searching for clues in the case for years.
However, one woman in McClellanville, South Carolina, whose husband and son were accused of taking part in the crime by the inmate, says the story of Drexel’s disappearance and murder is “craziness.”
But Brown told FBI investigators he visited a “stash house” with other men and witnessed Timothy Da’Shaun Taylor, then 16, “sexually abusing Brittanee Drexel,” the agent said.
Brown said there were others in the room with Drexel. He said the teen tried to escape, but she was “pistol whipped” and returned to the house.
That’s when Brown said he heard two gunshots, and Drexel’s body was wrapped up and taken to another location.
Drexel’s remains still haven’t been found.
The FBI agent said, “[S]everal witnesses have told us Miss Drexel’s body was placed in a pit, or gator pit, to have her body disposed of. Eaten by the gators,” the Post and Courier reported.
The agent also said investigators have been searching alligator ponds, and they searched the stash house. But there are at least 40 alligator ponds in the area.
Munoz said the FBI has been receiving “tidbits” and “secondhand information” since authorities held a news conference on the case in June of this year. Some of the tips are consistent with Brown’s version of the events and that of another inmate in Georgetown County jail.
The Georgetown inmate told officials Da’Shaun Taylor met Drexel in Myrtle Beach and took her to McClellanville, where he “showed her off, introduced her to some other friends that were there … they ended up tricking her out with some of their friends, offering her to them and getting a human trafficking situation,” according to the FBI agent.
When Drexel went missing, the news media covered her disappearance extensively.
The FBI agent said that’s when her kidnappers grew concerned, so she was “murdered and disposed of.”
In the transcript, Da’Shaun Taylor’s attorney, David Aylor, characterized the charges as “clearly nothing but a squeeze job” intended to push him to a confession and into helping the government. Aylor noted that the FBI doesn’t have hard evidence or testimony from other witnesses who say they saw the girl.
Aylor accused authorities of using an unusual tactic to get Da’Shaun Taylor to cooperate.
“Federal prosecutors obtained indictments in June charging Da’Shaun Taylor, 25, with interference of interstate commerce by threat or violence for his involvement in a 2011 robbery of a Mount Pleasant McDonald’s restaurant,” the Post and Courier reported. “Taylor was the getaway driver while two others held up the restaurant, one wounding the store manager with two non-life threatening gunshots.
“Taylor confessed, cooperated with authorities and was sentenced to probation, which he has successfully completed. The gunman got a 25-year sentence, and the robber got six years, suspended after serving 10 months.”
When both federal and state laws are violated, prosecutors may bring parallel charges. In this case, the charges are based on much of the same evidence collected in the McDonald’s robbery.
But Aylor said Da’Shaun Taylor shouldn’t be punished twice just because the FBI wants to “squeeze him” to solve the Drexel case.
D’Shaun Taylor was released on $10,000 bail after his bond hearing.
Drexel’s father, Chad Drexel, told WHAM-TV 13 he knows of “other specific evidence that [he] can NOT disclose at this time … which corroborates these testimonies.”