Posted at: 04/26/2014 6:48 PM
Updated at: 04/26/2014 11:12 PM
By: Rachel Spotts
Dozens of balloons were released into the sky on Saturday evening at Ontario Beach Park for the Chili teen that went missing five years ago while on a spring break trip to Myrtle Beach.
Brittanee Drexel was just 17-years-old when she disappeared back in 2009, and her family said this ceremony was all about hope; their hope that Drexel will one day be found, and their hope that she’s still alive.
"I need everyone to have hope. I've had hope since the beginning," said Chad Drexel, Brittanee's father.
The ceremony displayed pictures of Drexel along with messages of love and dedication. The family said they will never give up on Brittanee until she’s found.
“We all wanted to do this anniversary with the hope that we may find something, or maybe we’d find Brittanee,” said Linda Wolpert.
Drexel’s friends helped organize the event with candles and blue and white balloons that were released into the sky over the beach at Brittanee’s favorite spot.
Bre Greeley was one of Brittanee's closest friends.
“If I ever saw her again, I would hold her in my arms and say I love you so much,” said Greeley.
Chad Drexel said the last five years have been incredibly hard for the Drexel family, constantly worrying about where Brittanee might be and whether she's alive. But Drexel’s family and friends say the ceremony was a time to reflect.
“You never get into a system of depression; you get into a system of positivity. Camdyn and I, we go to church more often now. We look forward to good things. Hope. It's all about that,” said Chad.
The Drexel family says they will continue to stay positive, and that they all just want closure.