Body discovered on South Carolina property where chained woman rescued, more believed buried

Todd Kohlhepp, a registered sex offender who has been arrested in connection with the kidnapping of Kala Brown and Charles David Carver, is shown in this booking photo provided in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on Nov 3, 2016.
Todd Kohlhepp, a registered sex offender who has been arrested in connection with the kidnapping of Kala Brown and Charles David Carver, is shown in this booking photo provided in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on Nov 3, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

NE WYORK (NYTIMES) - Investigators on Friday (Nov 4) discovered a body buried on an isolated rural property near Woodruff, South Carolina, after a woman was rescued there a day earlier from a storage container in which she had been chained up and held captive, according to officials.

The Spartanburg County sheriff, Chuck Wright, said at a news conference that a body had been found in a shallow grave, but he gave no additional details.

Investigators had been sweeping the 100-acre woods and fields with cadaver dogs in search for other victims after finding the woman, Ms Kala V. Brown, inside the storage container on the property about 32km east of Greenville, South Carolina.

Deputies heard Ms Brown banging from inside the container, which was 9.1 metres-long, 4.5 metres wide and 3 to 3.6 metres high, TV station WYFF reported. Ms Brown, 30, disappeared with her boyfriend, Mr Charles D. Carver, 32, in August.

Ms Brown told authorities after she was rescued that there might be four people buried on the property, the sheriff said. "I want you to keep the families in your prayers," he said. "This is super bad."

The sheriff added that missing persons' cases were being reopened in light of the discovery on Friday (Nov 4).

Todd C. Kohlhepp, 45, owner of the property and a registered sex offender, has been charged with Ms Brown's kidnapping. At a hearing on Friday afternoon at which the defendant was denied bond, Solicitor Barry Barnette said Ms Brown had told investigators she witnessed Kohlhepp shooting Mr Carver.

Mr Barnette told Magistrate Judge Daniel R. Burns of Spartanburg County that officials had found "numerous guns, assault rifles, two 9-millimetre handguns with silencers on them" and "rounds of ammo".

"It's unbelievable how much he had out there," Mr Barnette said, adding, "This individual is a very, very dangerous individual."

Mr Murray Glenn, a spokesman for the Spartanburg County solicitors' office, said in an e-mail that more charges were possible.

"There is no avenue that will not be exhausted," he said. "We are looking to do everything we can to build a rock-solid case against this guy."

Sheriff Wright said authorities were also looking for clues online to shed light on what he said had not been a "random act" of kidnapping.

The case took a strange turn when friends and family noticed the missing couple's Facebook accounts suddenly becoming active, updating with mysterious posts that they did not believe had been written by the couple, according to The Daily Beast.

On Friday, Sheriff Wright told reporters at the search site that investigators were trying to figure out whether the suspect or another person had published the posts.

Kohlhepp, of Moore, South Carolina, sold real estate and had a landscaping business, according to the sheriff. The suspect was 15 when he was convicted in Arizona of kidnapping a 14-year-old girl at gunpoint, tying her up and raping her, Mr Barnette told the court.