Father of missing Chili teen reflects on five years

Friday marks five years since Brittanee Drexel, a Gates Chili High School junior disappeared while on Spring Break in Myrtle Beach. The teen traveled to South Carolina, never telling her parents or asking their permission.

Brittanee Drexel’s family would never be the same since the day they received news that the 17-year old had disappeared. Despite the lack of progress in the investigation, her father says he still hasn’t given up hope of one day learning the truth about what happened to Brittanee.

Chad Drexel, Brittanee’s father, said, “I would have thought by this time that we would have found something and my family would have closure.”

Chad Drexel never thought he would be doing another interview about his still missing daughter. Brittanee was a junior at Gates Chili when Chad and Dawn Drexel learned that she had gone to Myrtle Beach on Spring Break without telling them.

Drexel said, “It’s an emotional roller coaster, it really is. When you have to look at her siblings in their eyes and tell them daddy’s still looking. We’re doing our best. I’m trying, it’s hard.”

Dawn Drexel has since left the area and moved to Myrtle Beach, but Chad and their youngest son are still in the Rochester area. On Saturday, they are planning a vigil and a balloon launch from Ontario Beach Park. Drexel is calling it a hope rally.

Drexel said, “I want the community to know that I and her siblings and her little brother here in Rochester have total hope that we will have closure somehow, someway.”

Chad wouldn’t be specific, but said there are some new leads in the investigation. However, he says, there is one thing that haunts him even five years later.

Drexel said, “I’ve never been contacted by any of the children, any of the young adults that went down with Brittanee, that hung out down there briefly with Britannee or any of the parents of the children who live here in Rochester. Not one.”

Drexel believes these young people have information that could be helpful to police. Meanwhile, he is hoping the community comes out to the vigil on Saturday and by talking with one another, some new information or ideas may come out. The vigil starts at 6:00 p.m. at Ontario Beach Park.

**Berkeley Brean traveled to Myrtle Beach to talk one-on-one with Dawn Drexel, Brittanee’s mom, who moved to Myrtle Beach. Stay tuned for his reports on Friday.