10 years missing: Brittanee Drexel’s mom holds on to hope

CHILI, N.Y. (WHEC) — The family of Brittanee Drexel continues the fight to bring her home. The Chili teen vanished while on spring break in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, back in 2009.

For Dawn Pleckan, the mother of Brittanee Drexel, it’s as though time has stood still.

There is no resolution. There is no closure and there won’t be until Drexel’s body is found or someone is held responsible for her disappearance.

Still, Pleckan hangs on to hope.

"I’ll always have memories of Brittanee. I think they’re embedded in my mind. We had great memories with her and I think that’s what we hold onto," said Pleckan.

News10NBC’s Brett Davidsen met Pleckan at Grand Park in Myrtle Beach near a tree that was planted several years ago by Drexel’s family as a way of keeping her memory alive.

News10NBC’s Brett Davidsen: "When you look at that tree, what do you think about?"

Dawn Pleckan: "I think about Brit. We put that there as a memorial to her. Somewhere we could come and just sit and pray for her and it’s such a beautiful area, and Brittanee was such a beautiful soul."

It’s hard to believe it’s now been a full decade since her daughter vanished after leaving the Blue Water Hotel on Ocean Boulevard, yet the images of a teen-aged Drexel are frozen in time.

Pleckan: "I’ve missed out on her senior prom, her graduating high school, her going to college. She would probably have a family by now, so I miss out on her getting married, having children."

Davidsen: "How hard is it to just be able to move on with your own life knowing that this part of your life is unanswered?"

Pleckan: "I can’t move on with my life. It’s pretty hard to move on with my life because a part of me is missing."

Of course, a break in the case could certainly give Drexel’s family the closure they need.

Davidsen: "Do you still have hope that they’ll solve Brittanee’s disappearance?"

Pleckan: "I don’t know. I have hope that they will but I’m not sure if they will. That’s how I feel right now."

Her frustration with investigators comes, in part, she says, from being left in the dark about the course of the investigation.

Pleckan: "I think it’s a lack of communication. I think it’s a lack of action. Here we are 10 years later. My frustration lies, I mean we’ve had five law enforcement agencies on this case and her case is still where it was on day one."

Still, even after 10 years, she isn’t giving up.

Pleckan: "I just sometimes feel Brittanee’s presence. She knows that we’re trying to fight for her and do what we have to do."

And that fight begins its 11th year starting Friday.

The family is getting ready for a candlelight vigil Thursday night in Myrtle Beach to remember Drexel.