Family of former suspect in Brittanee Drexel case says ‘damage has been done’
MCCLENNANVILLE, S.C. (WHEC) — This week, police in Georgetown, South Carolina officially charged an older, white, convicted sex offender with the murder of Brittanee Drexel. His name is Raymond Moody.
But for years, the main suspect outed in public court documents was an African American teenager. His name is Timothy Taylor.
And today Taylor’s family revealed the damage that was done.
"Our family stood by him and consistently spoke out against the false accusations that too often are directed at people who look like us," Joanne Taylor said. "An age-old story in America."
Timothy Taylor’s parents spoke about their son in their town of McClennanville, South Carolina.
They said they thought they lost their son when at age four, he lost his arm in an accident. They thought they lost him again 12 years later he was labeled a Drexel suspect.
"The years-long fight against accusations, false accusations, and the media frenzy that ensued has traumatized us, affecting every aspect of our lives," his mother said.
Seven years after Drexel disappeared, a jailhouse informant fingered Taylor as being with Drexel, involved in her death including dumping her body in a swamp.
Five months later, an FBI agent testified they had an "eyewitness."
They had Taylor take a polygraph and asked him if he knew who was involved with Drexel and did Taylor see her in person?
The record shows Taylor answered no but the FBI called him "deceptive" and threatened him with 10 to 20 years in prison for an unrelated robbery he had already served time for.
The court testimony went public and so did Taylor’s name and image.
After the charges of murder, rape and kidnapping against Raymond Moody this week, the local prosecutor was asked about the jailhouse informant’s story.
"That’s already been debunked," Jimmy Richardson said.
"His name and face will forever be linked to Brittanee Drexel because of a lie. That pain is beyond words," Taylor’s mother said. "We’re not relieved. We’re enraged that it took this long."
In 2016, months after his name went public, News10NBC’s Brett Davidsen interviewed Taylor.
Brett Davidsen: "Did you kill Brittanee Drexel?"
Taylor: "No sir. I did not kill Brittanee Drexel."
In his interview with Davidsen asked what Taylor would say to Drexel’s family.
"I sincerely do apologize for the loss and I honestly hope they find who done this and give them justice," he said. "But I honestly don’t have anything or have any information to help them because I honestly don’t know anything."
The Taylor family did not take questions, nor did they say what their next steps will be but they promised to announce those shortly.
We contacted the FBI in South Carolina for a comment. At 5:54 Thursday, spokesman Kevin Wheeler emailed “We are declining comment, thank you.”