GEOREGTOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — In 2011, then-News13 reporter Mason Snyder confronted Raymond Moody before Moody was officially named a person of interest, but just hours after his apartment was searched.
Snyder: “Do you know anything about the missing teenager?”
Moody: “No I do not.”
Snyder: “Can you tell us where you were back in April of 09?”
Snyder and a photographer tracked Moody down at work the same day investigators searched his Georgetown County apartment.
Snyder: “Ray can we talk to you for a minute real quick?”
Moody: “You know what? I’m going to call the police in a second. You better split. Goodbye. I’ve got nothing to say to you. Do you understand that?”
Moody wasn’t charged a decade ago because of a lack of evidence.
Snyder describes Moody’s presence as chilling.
“The second I started peppering him with questions, and the second he started getting frustrated with the fact that we were there and that we were asking questions that we essentially stormed him,” Snyder said. “We didn’t set up this interview ahead of time. It made me want to get out of there as quickly as possible.”
Snyder spent three years at News13 between 2009 and 2012, often covering the Drexel case and countless searches.
He said Moody’s guilty plea brings mixed emotions since he became close with the Drexel family and now has two young daughters of his own.
“Happiness for the closure that the Drexel family now has but also just this emptiness in your gut because you’re like ‘I can’t believe somebody can do something so awful,'” Snyder said.
Snyder said even though he left the TV business, he still followed the story closely.
“I was in TV for a short window, and this was the biggest and most meaningful story that I covered while I was at Channel 13,” Snyder said. “It’s one that I’ll never forget. I’ll think about it for the rest of my life. I’m just glad there ended up being answers.”
Snyder said he still can’t believe he stood face-to-face with Moody — someone who so vehemently denied any knowledge of the case before ultimately confessing to the murder years later.
“It’s one of those where now you go back and look and go ‘I can’t believe that at the time I was standing face-to-face with somebody who could do something that was just so ruthless,” Snyder said.
Drexel, who was from Rochester, New York, disappeared on April 25, 2009, while she was on spring break with friends in the Myrtle Beach area. Authorities said her cell phone last pinged that day near the Charleston and Georgetown county line.
Her remains were found on May 11 in a wooded area along Old Town Avenue in Harmony Township in Georgetown County.
Moody pleaded guilty to murder, kidnapping and first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was given a life sentence on the murder charge and 30 years each on the remaining charges, which the judge ordered to be served consecutively.
Moody was arrested and charged with obstruction of justice on May 4 in Georgetown County, but he initially was named a person of interest in her disappearance in August 2011. That charge was dropped in Wednesday morning’s hearing.
Authorities announced additional charges on May 16 after saying that Drexel’s remains had been identified.