Todd Kohlhepp, a Moore, South Carolina, resident was arrested on Thursday, after a woman was found chained inside a large storage container on his property in Woodruff, South Carolina. (Nov. 4) AP
WOODRUFF, S.C. — A day after a body was found in a shallow grave on property owned by a local real-estate agent, investigators determined that the remains were the boyfriend of a woman found chained inside a metal storage shed there.
The woman, Kala Brown, 30, of Anderson, S.C., had told investigators that she watched Todd Kohlhepp, 45, of Moore, S.C., shoot her boyfriend, Charles David Carver, 32, of Anderson. Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said Saturday night that he’s working with an anthropologist to determine how long Carver had been buried.
“We certainly wanted a different outcome than this,” Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said. He declined to go into detail about the ongoing investigation but said more information would be released later.
The cause of death, ruled a homicide, was multiple gunshot wounds to the upper extremities, Clevenger said.
Earlier Saturday, Carver’s mother held out hope that he would be found alive as had his girlfriend of the past few months.
“Until I see a body, I can’t give up,” Joanne Shiflet said. “For this to be over, I have to see him.”
Solicitor Bary Barnette of South Carolina’s 7th Circuit Court said it is likely that Kohlhepp, who is in Spartanburg County Jail on a kidnapping charge and being held without bond, will face at least one murder charge. On Saturday afternoon for about an hour, authorities brought Kohlhepp to the 95-acre tract where Brown was found Thursday chained around her neck and ankles inside a storage shed.
It was not immediately known whether Kohlhepp was cooperating with investigators.
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.
On the land near Woodruff, authorities have assembled equipment and vehicles near the back of a clearing on the property to continue their investigation. They fear they are dealing with the work of a serial killer.
Wright said they would continue the painstaking process of searching the property for as long as it necessary to find answers. A search of 30% to 40% of the site has been completed since Brown was discovered Thursday.
Officers have found found numerous weapons and ammunition, and Wright said Brown told them that as many as four bodies could be buried there.
Friends and family had reported Brown and Carver missing in early September.
At the time, the pair had driven from Anderson to the Woodruff site to talk to Kohlhepp about clearing some of the property for him, said Shiflet, Carver’s mom. Kohlhepp already employed Brown to clean houses that he readied for sale in his real-estate business.
Near the center of the property now are several holes where an excavator had dug up the earth Friday.
A beige two-story garage stood nearby. Barnette said investigators found a bed with chains around it in the living space above the garage.
Contributing: Anna Lee, The Greenville (S.C.) News. Follow Frances K. Parrish and Kirk Brown on Twitter: @Frances_AIM and
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