On 25 April 2009, 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel of Chili, New York went missing while on holiday in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The investigation of the case dragged on for years and garnered nationwide attention.
In 2016, Tequan L. Brown, a jailhouse informant, implicated Timothy Da’Shaun Taylor in Brittanee Drexel’s disappearance, claiming that Drexel “was gang raped, shot in the head and her body dumped in an alligator pit.”
On 14 June 2017, FBI supervisory special agent Robert “Rob” Waizenhofer (since retired) administered a polygraph examination to Taylor regarding Brown’s allegations. Waizenhofer asked the following two relevant questions:
- “Do you know for sure who was involved in the disappearance of Brittanee Drexel?”
- “Did you ever see Brittanee Drexel in person?”
Taylor answered “no” to both questions. Waizenhofer concluded that Taylor was lying, writing in his report:
Taylor was told that he was strongly reacting to several of the questions. Taylor responded by invoking his right to speak with his attorney, who was outside the lobby. After extensive discussions with his attorney, Taylor agreed to continue the interview with the examiner. During this portion of the interview, Taylor went back to the story he had previously told about the argument he overheard concerning when [redacted] was accused of having Drexel’s cell phone. Within minutes of renewing the interview, Taylor denied that he was withholding any information in the missing-persons case, began shouting angrily at the examiner, and asked to speak to his attorney again. The interview was terminated at that point.
Five days later, FBI special agent and polygraph operator Thomas J. “TJ” Sypniewski (also since retired) reviewed Waizenhofer’s polygraph results, noting no deficiencies.
As a consequence of Brown’s accusation and Taylor’s failed polygraph, the FBI came to believe that “Taylor had direct involvement in Drexel’s kidnapping.” Drexel’s father also became persuaded that Taylor was involved in his daughter’s disappearance.
However, Timothy Taylor had nothing to do with Brittanee Drexel’s disappearance. He didn’t abduct her. He didn’t rape her. He didn’t kill her. He didn’t feed her to alligators. Tequan Brown’s accusations against him were a pure fabrication that—thanks in part to the polygraph—the FBI wrongly credited.
On Monday, 16 May 2022, the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office revealed that “Raymond Moody, a convicted sex offender, was charged with kidnapping, raping and killing Brittanee Drexel.” Moody has reportedly confessed to these crimes, and Drexel’s body has been recovered.
The investigatorial misdirection and injustice to Timothy Taylor that resulted from the FBI’s reliance on the pseudoscience of polygraphy in the Brittanee Drexel investigation serves only to strengthen the argument that polygraph “testing” should be scrapped for all purposes.
At the time of writing, it appears that Tequan Brown has not been criminally charged for falsely accusing Timothy Taylor. (He should be.)
Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated “Waizenhofer concluded that Brown was lying.” It should have stated “Waizenhofer concluded that Taylor was lying.”
I have been a criminal justice worker of various sorts for over 30 years and from this tenure, I am continuously amazed how so many CJ workers, including law enforcement, correctional workers and even judges are so easily being conned by jail house informants and other slick criminals. Seriously, how can so many of my former colleagues get through a career without developing a bullshit detector?
First off, what did Tejuan Brown have to gain from lying? Was he hoping for an earlier parole date, an extra biscuit for breakfast, or possibly wanting to stick it to a gang rival? It appears that these motives and many possible others were not investigated. Opps.
Also, it still galls me that we are past the one fifth mark of this century, and our elite LE agency, the FBI, is still taking the make-believe polygraph seriously, especially since the FBI pioneered the professionalism of law enforcement.
Now, I doubt that Tequan Brown will ever be criminally charged for a multitude of reasons including professional embarrassment for several local and federal authorities as well as discouraging other inmates from spilling their guts.
Dr. Todd Grande, a psychologist, did a video on YouTube of the Drexel murder case on May 19, 2022, and elaborated on how the polygraph is pseudo-science.
This case personal pushed two of my buttons: One, how the sector I spent most of my career in still cannot comprehend we are in the 21st century, yet still relying on “technology” that is as reliable as tea leaves, Ouija boards or E-meters; plus treating the words of convict informants like the Gospel.
Here’s the link to Todd Grande’s commentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbnocTpagMk
Horrible questions. did not address the issues. he could like about seeing her in person and not be involved in the crime. another FBI screw up. Never take an FBI test
I googled Tequan L. Brown to see any additional updates and found that Brown was complaining about having a $15,000 bounty on his head for snitching and lying on another inmate. Brown reports that both the Crips and the Bloods want that bounty.
Brown then sued, or tried to sue the DA, plus various sheriff and jail officials for releasing his name to the public. Minor detail of course, but Brown forgot to mention that he was the one that set these events in motion by lying on another individual.
Brown is probably still walking around with a bounty on his head. Correctional officials tend to have short memories, but not so with inmates
Here is a copy of the handwritten complaint by inmate Brown: