By Sarah Pawlowski
A South Carolina realtor has been charged with kidnapping and holding a South Carolina woman captive for two months after authorities discovered the woman chained inside of a storage container on his property last week. Authorities decided to visit the property on Thursday, Nov. 3, after receiving a tip from a sex crimes investigator regarding an ongoing missing persons case, according to BBC.
While searching the property of realtor and businessman Todd Christopher Kohlhepp, authorities discovered two other bodies. Investigators had come to Kohlhepp’s property in the midst of a joint missing persons case conducted by law offices in Anderson and Spartanburg counties. The missing persons in question were Kala Brown and her boyfriend Charles D. Carver, who on Wednesday, Aug. 31, had answered an advertisement for work posted by Kohlhepp and never returned home, according to BBC.
Kohlhepp, a registered sex offender, had posted an ad asking for help cleaning up his property. Brown and Carver showed up to help, but the situation escalated upon their arrival, when Kohlhepp pulled a gun on them and shot Carver for being a “smart aleck,”according to both USA Today and CBS News. Brown was chained up after Carver’s death.
Brown was chained to a shipping container by her neck. Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said Brown was “chained like a dog” when she was discovered by authorities, according to CBS News. According to Brown, Kohlhepp never took the chain off of her, but occasionally walked her around for exercise. Brown has testified that she was fed once a day, around 6 p.m, according to CBS News.
Kohlhepp’s actions against Brown and Carver are not his only infractions of the law. According to The New York Times, when Kohlhepp was a teenager, he was arrested for the kidnapping and rape of a 14-year-old girl. Kohlhepp was 15 years old at the time and served a prison sentence of 15 years in an Arizona prison, USA Today reports. After his conviction, Kohlhepp was required to register as a sex offender, according to CNN.
When questioned about the Brown case on Saturday, Nov. 5, Kohlhepp confessed to the 2003 massacre of four people in a motorsports shop in Chesnee, S.C. The massacre at Superbike Motorsports, which had remained a cold case until this past week, occurred after the shop’s owner, along with an employee, poked fun at Kohlhepp for falling off of a motorcycle. The pair’s remarks caused Kohlhepp to open fire upon them and kill two other employees, according to CNN.
A stockpile of firearms and ammunition was also found on Kohlhepp’s Woodruff property, according to prosecutor Barry Barnette. Guns, assault rifles and rounds of ammunition were among the pieces of evidence recovered from the scene, Barnette said, according to CNN.
Due to his status as a felon and sex offender, Kohlhepp should not have been able to own a gun. Don Wood, a South Carolina spokesperson for the FBI, said it appears Kohlhepp obtained his weapons illegally.
Brown and Carver are not the only couple that Kohlhepp killed, as he is also accused of killing Johnny Coxie and his wife, Meagan Leigh McCraw Coxie. The suspect disclosed to authorities the location of their bodies shortly after this investigation began, according to CNN.
Kohlhepp is a suspect in seven deaths. He’s been charged in Brown’s kidnapping and the four Superbike killings, according to CBS News.