S.C. investigators expect to find more bodies on real estate agent's property

WOODRUFF, S.C. — A day after a body was found in a shallow grave on property owned by a Spartanburg County real estate agent, investigators returned to the scene hoping to find answers to their grisly discovery.

Before the sun had risen, law enforcement was present at the property where 30-year-old Anderson woman Kala Brown was found alive but chained around her neck and ankles inside a metal shed earlier this week.

Law enforcement has equipment and vehicles near the back of the clearing on the property to continue the investigation. They fear they are dealing with the work of a serial killer. Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said they would continue the painstaking process of searching the property for as long as it took to find answers. Wright said they had searched about 30-40% of the property since Brown was discovered on Thursday. They have found numerous weapons and ammunition.

He said Brown told them there could be as many as four bodies on the 95-acre property.

Todd Christopher Kohlhepp, 45, is the owner of the property and is the center of the investigation. On Friday, he was arraigned on a charge of kidnapping Brown.

He has not been charged in any deaths, but 7th Circuit Solicitor Barry Barnette said at least one murder charge is likely against Kohlhepp. Brown, he said, has told investigators she watched Kohlhepp shoot her boyfriend, Charles David Carver, 32.

Authorities are not prepared to say whether the body buried in a shallow grave on the property near Woodruff is that of Carver or someone else. Carver is still missing. They both were last seen in late August at their Anderson Crossing apartment and were reported missing by friends and family the first week of September.

In 1986, Kohlhepp was charged as an adult in the rape of a 14-year-old girl in Tempe, Ariz., when he was 15. As part of the plea bargain, Kohlhepp's record would reflect he pleaded guilty to kidnapping, and he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Afterward, he was required to register as a sex offender.

One neighbor in a 1987 pre-sentencing report described him as “a devil on a chain.” Court records state he once threatened to kill his mother, used a hammer to destroy his newly remodeled bedroom, poured bleach into a goldfish bowl and locked a boy in a dog cage and rolled him around.

Several holes could be seen Friday night near the center of the property where an excavator had dug up the earth. A beige two-story garage stood nearby. Barnette said investigators found a bed with chains around it in the living space above the garage.

A gravel path connected the garage to a dark green shed and storage container where Brown was kept chained. The door to the container was open, and crime scene tape cordoned off the area.

In one clearing, officers could be seen collecting evidence from one of several shallow holes in the ground.

USA TODAY


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