Brittanee Drexel's family is among several families with missing loved ones who are anxiously awaiting the identification of human skeletal remains found in Myrtle Beach.
UPDATE: According to Monica Caison, founder and director of the North Carolina-based Community United Effort Center for Missing Persons, the coroner in Horry County has used dental records to rule out Drexel as a match. "They believe it to be a male," Caison told HuffPost..
According to the Horry County Police Department, the remains were found Saturday, by someone walking in the area of Tidewater Drive, near Waccamaw Boulevard in Horry County. The location of the discovery is a rural, albeit groomed area, which would likely be better known to locals than outsiders.
Lt. Robert Kegler, of the Horry County Police Department, told The Huffington Post on Tuesday that authorities cannot "speculate as to whom the remains belong to."
The remains, which are confirmed as human, may have been in the area for several years. They will soon be sent to a lab in Texas, which has the ability to expedite DNA testing, authorities said.
The location of the remains is approximately 6 miles from where Drexel was last seen in 2009, prompting speculation that the remains could belong to her. Reports suggesting a possible connection prompted the missing girl's mother, Dawn Drexel, to release a statement Monday. It reads, in part:
"There are many missing children and adults in the region who have families suffering in anticipation ... We need to respect the process, along with the realization this could be any of our missing loved ones."
Brittanee Drexel, of Rochester, N.Y., was 17 years old in April 2009, when she went to Myrtle Beach, S.C., on spring break. The teen was last seen by friends on April 25 of that year, 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.
While Brittanee Drexel is an obvious possibility, there are several other people who have gone missing from the same general in recent years, including Crystal Soles, Johnny Brown, Susan DeLuca, Garret Hughes and Kareem Ward.
MISSING PEOPLE IN THE AREA: (Story Continues Below)
According to Monica Caison, founder and director of the North Carolina-based Community United Effort Center for Missing Persons, there is also the possibility that the remains do not belong to a person who is missing from the area.
"It could be a runaway, a transient or someone who was harmed and transported across the state line," Caison said. "It literally could be anyone and until results come in, its going to raise the anxiety of everyone who has a missing loved one."
Whatever the case may be, Caison said the discovery has many families sitting on the edge of their seat.
"Anytime a body is found it's almost like a punch in the gut for them," she said. "The fear sets back in and they are on a roller coaster of emotions."
Authorities have not yet indicated when they expect to receive the results from the DNA tests.