More than two years after Rochester, N.Y., teen Brittanee Drexel vanished while on spring break in Myrtle Beach, S.C., authorities have executed a search warrant at a hotel where a person of interest once stayed.
On Monday, members of the Myrtle Beach Police Department, Geogetown County Sheriff's Department and the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), went to the Sunset Lodge in Georgetown, S.C., and blocked off access to room 22 with bright yellow crime scene tape.
According to Myrtle Beach Police Captain David Knipes, the investigation into the disappearance of Drexel revealed that a "person(s) of interest may have stayed in this room on or around the time of the disappearance of Brittanee Marie Drexel."
Investigators spent approximately three hours inside the hotel room and reportedly left with several evidence bags. What, if anything, they found remains unclear.
The manager of Sunset Lodge told Charleston's Post And Courier that a man who once stayed in room 22 had moved into the room the day before Drexel disappeared and left the hotel about six months ago. The man, according to the newspaper, is a registered sex offender who was convicted of kidnapping and raping a child younger than 14 in California, in 1983.
Authorities have declined to identify the "person of interest."
"We will not be providing any further information detailing the name of the subject, why we think they may be involved or where we go from here," Knipes told The Huffington Post. "The search was one of many that we have conducted and there are no arrests expected at this time."
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The 17-year-old Drexel was last seen by friends on April 25, 2009, when she left the Bar Harbor Hotel in Myrtle Beach to meet friends at the nearby BlueWater Resort. Surveillance footage shows Drexel arriving at the resort, then leaving roughly 10 minutes later. What happened to her after that remains a mystery.
Drexel's cell phone gave off its last signal the day after she went missing. Investigators narrowed the phone location to an area near the South Santee River in Georgetown County.
Monica Caison, founder and director of the North Carolina-based CUE Center for Missing Persons, has conducted multiple searches for the missing teen.
"There have been many searches that have not been publicized -- some just weeks ago and when requested our organization will answer that call for Brittanee," Caison told HuffPost. "We will be there until the end and a resolution takes place for this case, as we do for all of our cases."
According to Drexel's mother, Dawn Drexel, Caison has not only searched but has also helped her cope with her daughter's disappearance.
"Monica is a great advocate," Drexel told HuffPost. "She says, 'Don't get discouraged, we have to rules things out.' She keeps me levelheaded."
According to Drexel, the missing person advocate still has some areas of interest she would like to rule out. In the meantime, Drexel said she takes life one day at a time.
"It has been such a long road and now it is getting close to Brittanee's 20th birthday. I don't know how people do it who have loved ones missing five, 10 or 20 years. I hope the nightmare ends soon," Drexel said.
At the time of her disappearance, Drexel was 5 feet tall and 103 pounds. She had blue eyes and blond highlights in her hair. Anyone with information in the case is asked to contact Myrtle Beach Police at (843) 918-1382. Confidential tips can also be submitted via helpfindbrittaneedrexel.com.