New York teen Brittanee Drexel had "her mind set" on spring break in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Her mom didn't want her to go, but the strong-willed 17-year-old from Rochester, N.Y., went anyway. Now she's missing, and her mom fears the worst.
Brittanee's mom, Dawn Drexel, said her daughter made it to her South Carolina hotel and kept in touch until last Saturday night. That's when the messages suddenly stopped and the high school junior vanished, seemingly without a trace, she said.
"It's a parent's worst nightmare," said Drexel. "There's a lot of things that don't add up, and I'm scared that there's the possibility that she's not alive."
Drexel is worried because her daughter suffers from depression, and she's losing hope that she will be found safe. She said Brittanee may have been upset because her mother and stepfather are getting divorced.
Brittanee had asked for permission to travel to Myrtle Beach, but Drexel said she wouldn't let her go.
"I just said no, you're not going," Drexel told The Associated Press. "But when she gets her mind set on something, she just wants to do it, and that's it. I'm pretty positive she had left Wednesday night."
Male Friend May Have Been Last to See Teen Alive
The teen's hotel room at the Bar Harbor Hotel was abandoned, and she left all her belongings behind. Her cell phone, which has been tracked, was the only item missing, according to Myrtle Beach police spokesman Capt. David Knipes.
Brittanee left the Bar Harbor Hotel Saturday night about 8 p.m. and went to visit a friend named Peter Broswick, who was with a group of male friends at the nearby Blue Water Resort.
Detectives believe Broswick may have been the last one to see the missing teen alive.
Broswick is also from Rochester and left the beach town for home about 1 a.m. the night Brittanee was last seen, according to News Channel 15's CarolinaLive.com.
Police released footage of the girl entering and leaving the lobby of the Blue Water about 8:25 p.m. Saturday.
Knipes told FOXNews.com he doesn't know the nature of the pair's relationship.
"I'm not sure what their relationship was, other than they knew each other," he said.
Broswick has been questioned on the phone by Myrtle Beach investigators and in person by Rochester, N.Y., police, according to Knipes.
"He left before we were notified of the disappearance," Knipes told FOXNews.com. He has reportedly retained an attorney.
Knipes stopped short of calling Broswick a person of interest in the disappearance.
"We haven’t named anybody as a suspect," Knipes told FOXNews.com. "But since this case is under investigation, nothing has been ruled out. We don’t know whether this is a simple runaway or an abduction. We don't have anything to go on."
Knipes said Broswick's sudden, middle-of-the-night departure from Myrtle Beach could raise suspicions, according to CarolinaLive.com.
"I have not had the chance to interview him to find out why. Obviously going back to Rochester is a 16-17-hour drive," Knipes told the station. "I don't know what his plans were. So it's hard to speculate without talking to him directly."
Brittanee reportedly left Broswick's room when one of her friends at the Bar Harbor called saying she needed back her pair of shorts, CarolinaLive.com reported. The girl apparently vanished Saturday night going from one hotel to the other, a distance of about 20 blocks, according to Knipes.
She wasn't reported missing by one of her friends until the next day.
Brittanee's mother said she is suspicious of the timing of Broswick's departure from the beach town hours after her daughter disappeared.
"I'm not stupid," Drexel told the station. "You don't check out at one or two in the morning."
She told News Channel 15 that a private investigator said her daughter's friend didn't collect his security deposit before leaving the hotel, though that hasn't been confirmed.
Little Evidence, Surveillance Tapes Sought
Knipes didn't elaborate on whether police had collected any forensic evidence in the case, but implied that they hadn't.
"We have no crime scene," he told FOXNews.com.
Police are seeking other security camera videos that may have captured the girl on film.
Knipes declined to describe where police were looking for more surveillance tapes, saying they were seeking any and all footage of the missing teen.
An intense search for Brittanee Drexel has yielded little, other than a look-alike on a bus whose sighting led police on a wild goose chase until they realized she wasn't the missing girl, but a local hotel employee.
"Even though this lead did not pan out, we are still hopeful that we locate Ms. Drexel safe and sound," Knipes wrote in a Thursday press release. "We continue to investigate all leads."
But they have no concrete leads to go on.
"Obviously it's a very concerning thing, when you have a 17-year-old with a history of depression who could do harm to herself or others," Knipes said.
Her worried mother initially thought her daughter, a junior on spring break from Gates-Chili High School, was staying with friends only a few miles from home.
Dawn Drexel didn't know Brittanee was in Myrtle Beach until the girl's boyfriend John Grieco called her, according to CarolinaLive.com. Then, on April 23, Brittanee texted her mom that she was "at the beach."
Dawn Drexel said she communicated with her daughter through cell phone calls and texts between Thursday and Saturday, exchanging messages about soccer equipment she was going to buy for Brittanee.
Those messages stopped at 8 p.m. Saturday. Grieco notified Brittanee's mother about her disappearance.
"He said, 'Yeah, they can't find her,'" Drexel told the station. "I said, 'Are you serious?' He said, 'Yeah.'"
Drexel said stress from her impending divorce to Brittanee's stepfather may have contributed to her daughter's depression — and possibly her decision to come to Myrtle Beach.
"She tries to watch out for her brother and sister," Drexel said. "It was very stressful in the household."
Comparisons Drawn to Natalee Holloway
The case is reminiscent of the high-profile disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway in Aruba four years ago this month.
Holloway has never been found, despite exhaustive investigations and searches on the Caribbean island. Three boys last seen with her have been arrested, questioned and released, but no one has been prosecuted in the case.
"There’s obviously similarities if people are thinking about that: a young woman goes on vacation and disappears," Knipes told FOXNews.com. "But we don’t have anything to show any foul play."
Still, police investigating Brittanee's disappearance and the teen's loved ones are hoping she will be found alive.
On Monday, Brittanee's mom, boyfriend and a handful of her friends posted dozens of flyers in Myrtle Beach bearing the missing teen's picture and description.
Her father, who lives near Tampa, Fla., is in Myrtle Beach with his wife and relatives and is helping in the search, Drexel said.
Brittanee's stepfather also has been helping out from Rochester, fielding some media calls during the teen's disappearance.
Teams from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children are also assisting in the search, according to Knipes.
Detectives in Rochester are interviewing Brittanee's friends and others from the area who traveled to Myrtle Beach last week.
Allanna Lippa, 19, said she was one of about 15 people in the group who stayed "in one big room" at the motel. Lippa returned to Rochester, where she is now worrying about her friend.
"There's a million things that could have possibly happened to her," said Lippa, 19. "She was fun, a little ball of energy. But she was also depressed."
Brittanee Drexel has blue eyes and shoulder-length brown hair with blond highlights. She's 5 feet tall, weighs about 103 pounds and was last seen wearing a multi-colored shirt, black shorts and flip-flops.
Those with any information are asked to call Myrtle Beach Police at (843) 918-1300, 1-800-CRIME-TV or 1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678).
FOXNews.com's Catherine Donaldson-Evans and The Associated Press contributed to this report.