High-profile missing person cases in Horry County

12.27.2013

Several people have gone missing from our area since 2007. The searches for all of them continue today.

Kareem Ward, 22, was last seen in Aynor on June 16, 2007. Ward’s car was pulled from a boat landing on the Pee Dee River three days later, but he was nowhere to be found.

Brittanee Drexel, a 17-year-old from Rochester, New York, disappeared while on a spring break trip to Myrtle Beach in 2009. Her case was featured on many national media outlets.

A former trainer for the Coastal Carolina University football team, Brandon “Peanut” Graves, was last seen at a Sumter nightclub on January 30th, 2010.

In August, 19-year-old Zachary Malinowski went missing in Aynor. His burned out car was found not far from his Horry County home, but Malinowski is still missing.

Most recently, there is the case of Heather Elvis, a 20-year-old Socastee woman who was reported missing by her father, Terry Elvis, on December 19. Her car was found at Peachtree Landing in Socastee, and the search for her has been going on ever since.

“I know that I’m trying to keep busy with it. I know that I’m doing everything that I can think of. But no matter how much it is, I feel like it’s not enough that I’m doing because she’s not home,” Terry Elvis said.

Monica Caison and volunteers from the CUE Center for Missing Persons are helping Elvis search for his daughter, but they’re also still looking for Kareem, Brittanee, Brandon and Zachary.

“You have to just continue to look, and as information comes up, whether through law enforcement or other things in the case come up, there’s always another place to look. And as long as we do that, we’ll have a search.”

Caison said the group does have success stories, and never gives up on any of the cases they receive.

Brittanee Drexel’s mother makes statement following discovery of skeletal remains

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WIS) –

The mother of a teenager who was last seen in Myrtle Beach in 2009 has released a statement about the discovery of human skeletal remains found approximately six miles from where Brittanee Drexel was last seen.

I would like to thank everyone for their concern and support for my daughter, Brittanee in the recent discovery made in Horry County South Carolina. There are many missing children and adults in the region who have families suffering in anticipation the this latest news and who along side of our family await for a resolution as well.
I ask at this time to please wait for investigators to make a positive identification and be allowed to do their job. We need to respect the process along with the realization this could be any of our missing loved ones.
I encourage all media to re visit the case files and feature our missing. It is so vital to keep these cases out in the public.
Thank you
Dawn Drexel

On Saturday, someone walking in the area of Tidewater Road near Waccamaw came across the remains and contacted police.

Horry County Coroner Robert Edge confirmed that the remains are human, and the larger bones will be packed up and sent off to a lab in Texas for DNA testing. The bones have been in the Waccamaw area for years, Edge said.

Authorities have not yet determined if the bones belong to a man, woman or child.

Drexel, who was 17 at the time of her disappearance, was last seen in the area of 11th Avenue South and 20th Avenue South. She was in the area for spring break against the will of her mother when she vanished.

Investigators report contact was lost between Drexel and her family in New York on April 25, 2009, the same night authorities believe she disappeared.

Since that time, searchers have scoured the area, looking for any clues as to where she may have gone, but with no luck.

Anyone with information regarding the disappearance of Drexel is urged to contact Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

wistv.com – Columbia, South Carolina |

 

CUE conducts search for Crystal Soles, missing since 2005

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GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Crystal Soles was 28-years-old when she was last seen in Andrews, SC, while walking home from the Shaw Corner Store in January 2005. The CUE conducted a search in Georgetown County on Saturday night for the missing woman.

Monica Caison with the CUE Center said the search concluded last night around 7 p.m. There were certain areas in the search that they were unable to get to because of recent rain, but searched the area the best they could. The CUE brought in their own resources for the search, and they said it is important to keep looking.

Caison said there will be a new billboard for Soles out in Andrews soon. A spokesperson for the CUE said that anytime there is a search for Crystal Soles, they will also look for Brittnee Drexel, who was 17 when she went missing in 2009.

Since then investigators and volunteer search teams have done numerous searches for Soles, many times using dogs and horses to help look for clues.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the anonymous tip line, Crime Stoppers. That number is 1-888-CRIME-S-C.

Copyright 2013 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

CUE conducts search for Crystal Soles, missing since 2005

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GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Crystal Soles was 28-years-old when she was last seen in Andrews, SC, while walking home from the Shaw Corner Store in January 2005. The CUE conducted a search in Georgetown County on Saturday night for the missing woman.

Monica Caison with the CUE Center said the search concluded last night around 7 p.m. There were certain areas in the search that they were unable to get to because of recent rain, but searched the area the best they could. The CUE brought in their own resources for the search, and they said it is important to keep looking.

Caison said there will be a new billboard for Soles out in Andrews soon. A spokesperson for the CUE said that anytime there is a search for Crystal Soles, they will also look for Brittnee Drexel, who was 17 when she went missing in 2009.

Since then investigators and volunteer search teams have done numerous searches for Soles, many times using dogs and horses to help look for clues.

http://www.wistv.com/story/23167031/cue-conducts-search-for-crystal-soles-missing-since-2005

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the anonymous tip line, Crime Stoppers. That number is 1-888-CRIME-S-C.

Officials search for woman who went missing in 2005 in Georgetown

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Updated: Aug 17, 2013 8:57 PM CDT

Search for Andrews woman missing since 2005 conducted Saturday

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Published Saturday, August 17, 2013 6:48 PM

Andrews S.C. – A search was conducted today in the woods between Georgetown and Andrews after law enforcement received a tip that the remains of Crystal Soles may be in that area.

South Carolina Law Enforcement spokesman Thom Berry told the Georgetown Times this evening the search was conducted within the help of the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office and  the Community United Effort Center for Missing Persons of Wilmington.

Assistant Sheriff Carter Weaver said the search took place near the Nine Mile Curve, an area that has been searched previously/

“They searched private property and they found nothing,” Berry said Saturday evening.

Crystal Soles — 28-years-old at the time — was last seen at approximately 8:30 a.m. January 24, 2005 at the Shaw’s Corner Store in the vicinity of Jones Avenue and Main Street in Andrews. She called her father from a pay phone at that store and has not been heard from since that time.

From that time on her mother, Gail Soles, has made every attempt to find her missing daughter. She was on the scene assisting with Saturday’s search.

Also helping was Dawn Drexel. Her daughter Brittanee Drexel went missing in 2009 from Myrtle Beach

About 30 law enforcement officials and 70 volunteers from the CUE Center helped with the search. Weaver said ATVs from the Sheriff’s Office were used. Also used were search dogs and boats as rain hampered some of the search efforts.

http://www.gtowntimes.com/local/Search-for-Andrews-woman-missing-since-2005-conducted-Saturday2013-08-17T16-48-46

Information leads to new search for Crystal Soles

Posted: 08.17.2013

For several hours on Saturday more than 30 law enforcement and 70 volunteers with the Community United Effort Center for Missing Persons teamed up to search for Crystal Soles in a wooded area of Georgetown County. Soles was last seen in Andrews more than eight years ago.

Those searching used canines, boats, canines as well as ATV’s.

Soles was 28-years-old when she disappeared. Her Mom Gail Soles, who was at the search, said she was a woman who lived to help others.

“Very good, very kind, very loving, she’d give you the shirt off her back,” she explained.

Among many present Saturday to support Soles was Dawn Drexel, who’s daughter Brittanee Drexel went missing in 2009.

“It means a lot when family members do come out because they’re there with you and they know what you’re going through and they’ve gone through the same things,” Drexel explained.

Volunteers and law enforcement did run into some challenges during the search, including rain throughout the day. Officials explained this made it difficult to search some of the area but they were able to find alternate routes.

Soles explained that no matter what, she’s never giving up hope on finding her daughter.

“Crystal knows we’re out here looking and she knows Mom, Mom’s never going to give up,” Soles explained.

http://www.carolinalive.com/news/story.aspx?id=935289#.UhBgNVN4-eA

 

 

Families remember loved ones that are missing

10.06.2012

ANDREWS, SC (WPDE) – Four families gathered Saturday afternoon in Andrews to remember their loved ones that have disappeared.

Crystal Gail Soles of Andrews has been missing since 2005. Her mother organized the event calling it a Walk of Remembrance.

The families of Brittanee Drexel, Brandon Graves, Crystal Soles, and Gabbiee Swainson gathered with posters in hand, hoping to keep hope alive for their loved one’s missing person cases.

“You’ve got to keep their name and their face out there, every missing child, cause it could bring in tips and leads for their case,” said Dawn Drexel.

All of these missing person cases have been involved with CUE Center for Missing Persons. Monica Caison is the founder of CUE and says it’s important for families who are missing someone to support each other.

“Whenever someone gets missing within our organization, we actually build the base underneath them with other families,” said Caison.

Saturday’s event was called a walk of remembrance, but the families also say it was one of hope.

There will be a candlelight vigil tomorrow at 7 p.m. for Brittanee Drexel at the site of her tree planted on Farrow Parkway at The Market Common.

On Friday, October 12 there will be an event for Brandon Graves at the halftime of the Dillon High School football game.

http://www.carolinalive.com/news/story.aspx?id=809941#.UHIOKKPhcYJ

US Sex offender eyed in cold case disappearances of 2 women in South Carolina

  

A convicted child rapist is being eyed by South Carolina cops in the disappearances of two young women, including a New York teenager who disappeared while on spring break in Myrtle Beach almost three years ago, FoxNews.com has learned.

Raymond Moody (Source: Georgetown County Sheriff's Office)

Detectives say Raymond Moody is the primary “person of interest” in the 2009 disappearance of 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel, who was last seen on surveillance video leaving a popular Myrtle Beach hotel along Ocean Boulevard in a case that sparked widespread media coverage. Moody, who served 21 years in prison for abducting and raping a California girl in 1983, is also being looked at in connection with another missing woman, 28-year-old Crystal Soles, law enforcement sources told FoxNews.com.

Both women are presumed dead, though exhaustive searches in the rugged terrain between Myrtle Beach and Moody’s home some 50 miles south of the popular destination have been fruitless. Authorities have classified Drexel’s disappearance a “cold case,” meaning they renew their probe whenever they receive credible, new information. Myrtle Beach investigators have received such information within the last week, though they declined to elaborate.

Drexel, a high school junior from the Rochester area, went with friends and without her mom’s permission to Myrtle Beach on April 23, 2009. A video camera at the Blue Water Resort captured her leaving the hotel on April 25 close to 9 p.m., police said. The footage is the last known sighting of her.

Investigator Phillip Hanna of the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office said a signal from Drexel’s cellphone was detected about 50 miles south of Myrtle Beach later that night – in a remote boat landing area near the South Santee River and roughly 8 miles from the Sunset Lodge apartments in Georgetown County where Moody had been living at the time.

Detectives revealed to FoxNews.com that Moody, a registered Level 3 sex offender, was in the Myrtle Beach area the same weekend Drexel disappeared. Capt. Joe Vella of the Myrtle Beach Police Department said Moody was issued a speeding ticket in Surfside on April 26, a day after the teenager was last seen.

Police said Drexel, a petite blonde and avid soccer player, had left a group of male friends from Rochester at the Blue Water Resort to walk back to the Bar Harbor Hotel, where she was staying with other girls.

After leaving the Blue Water hotel, Drexel texted her boyfriend back home to say she was headed for her hotel, but security video confirmed she never made it, police said.

Myrtle Beach detectives said they believe Drexel was abducted as she walked the one-mile stretch of Ocean Boulevard between the two hotels. She may have been snatched off the street, Vella said, or willingly accepted a ride “from the wrong person.”

They also said Drexel was likely alive and with her phone when it gave off its last signal in Georgetown County. No activity was detected on her bank account since her disappearance and Vella said, “We don’t think it was a robbery.”

Moody served 21 years of a 40-year prison sentence after he abducted a girl from a California playground and sexually assaulted her in 1983. His convictions include three counts of rape with force and violence; two counts of lewd behavior on a child under the age of 14; and one count of assault with intent to commit mayhem, according to a state sex offender database on the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s website.

Moody relocated to Georgetown, S.C., where his parents live following his release from the California State Prison in Solano in 2004. Moody, who police say works as a cabinet maker, could not be reached for comment.

Vella said Moody has refused to speak with authorities. Last August, police searched the unit at the Sunset Lodge apartments, where Moody moved into the day before Drexel disappeared. Investigators have not yet disclosed what clues, if any, they uncovered at the apartment.

“We cannot eliminate him as a person of interest,” said Vella. He also noted that “one, possibly two” other individuals from coastal South Carolina are also “persons of interest,” though he and other law enforcement sources indicated that Moody remains the primary focus.

Detectives with the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said they are also investigating a possible connection between Drexel’s case and the 2005 disappearance of Crystal Soles. Soles, 28, was last seen Jan. 24, 2005, in Andrews, S.C., and is believed to have been abducted as she walked home in the dark.

“We are checking for any similarities to see if there are any connections between the two [cases],” detective Phillip Hanna told FoxNews.com.

For Drexel’s mother, Dawn, the anguish over her oldest child is as painful now as it was nearly three years ago.

“Every day is a nightmare,” the single mother told FoxNews.com. “I miss her so much.”

Dawn Drexel said she learned that her daughter, a junior at Gates Chili High School, had traveled to Myrtle Beach when she received a phone call April 25 saying the girl was missing.

“Panic set in,” said Drexel. She said she spoke to her daughter earlier that day, believing she was still in Rochester and staying at a friend’s house near Lake Ontario.

“I was buying her soccer cleats,” Drexel said as she recalled their final phone conversation. “I said ‘I love you’ and she said ‘I love you, too, I’ll see you tomorrow.’”

Drexel said her daughter, whom she described as “very outgoing,” had aspirations to become a pediatric nurse.

“She just loved children,” Drexel said. “She had a smile that would light up a room.”

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/02/16/south-carolina-sex-offender-eyed-in-cold-case-disappearances-brittanee-drexel/

 

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