10:11 AM PDT, May 23, 2022
Kerri Harding was an 8-year-old walking to school in California when she was kidnapped by Raymond Moody in 1983 and then raped in the back of his car.
He assaulted her repeatedly before she was able to run away by telling him she had to go to the bathroom. Moody spent 21 years in prison for that offense, and now is accused of kidnapping, raping and killing 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel in 2009 while she was on spring break in South Carolina.
Moody was charged last week in that case, after it went unsolved for 13 years. And Harding is now speaking out.
“He’s a demon and a monster and he needs to be put to death,” Harding said. “The world would be a better place without him,” she told WHEC-TV. “He should have never been given a chance to hurt another child,” she said.
Harding said she was in agony after learning of Moody’s arrest. “I felt terribly, terribly sad for her mother and her family,” she said, sobbing.
Moody was paroled in 2004 after serving 21 years of a 40-year sentence, authorities said. He then returned to his native Georgetown, South Carolina, officials said.
He was named a person of interest in Drexel’s disappearance three years after she vanished in Myrtle Beach, but authorities said they lacked evidence to arrest him. Last week, local and federal agents announced his arrest. Georgetown authorities later said Moody acknowledged killing Drexel, and led investigators to her buried remains.
Moody is being held without bail at the Georgetown County Detention Center.
Drexel disappeared in April 2009 in Myrtle Beach, a popular resort for students vacationing during the spring school holiday. Brittanee, a 17-year-old high school junior from a Rochester suburb in upstate New York, had begged her parents to let her go on the trip with friends.
They refused, saying there was no adult chaperone and they didn’t know all of the students. But Brittanee went anyway, telling her mother she was staying with a friend to cool off after arguing with her, mom Dawn Drexel told People in 2016.
On April 25, 2009, the third day of her trip to Myrtle Beach, she disappeared while walking from a friend’s hotel to the Motor Inn where she was staying with friends. The last image of her appeared in security video from her friend’s hotel, showing her walking away in shorts, flip-flops and a sleeveless shirt.
“For 13 years we’d been hoping for a different outcome,” FBI Special Agent Susan Ferensic said last week. “We confirmed that Brittanee lost her life in a tragic way, at the hands of a horrible criminal who was walking our streets.”
Georgetown County online records show Moody was arrested in 2008 and later convicted of indecent public exposure. In 2009, he was arrested and later convicted of failing to register as a sex offender.