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Missing South Carolina woman found alive in container, "chained like a dog"

CBS News


A South Carolina woman who vanished more than two months ago was found alive Thursday morning inside a padlocked 30' by 15' metal container on a rural property, "chained like a dog," a sheriff said.

Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright says deputies heard 30-year-old Kala Brown banging on the walls of the container as they served a search warrant at the nearly 100-acre Woodruff property related to the search for her and her boyfriend, Charlie Carver.

Brown told investigators she had been held there against her will for two months. Carver, 32, remains missing.

"It was pretty emotional, to say the least," Wright told reporters. "When she was found, she was chained like a dog - she had a chain around her neck. It's only by God's grace we found that little girl alive."

Wright says registered sex offender Todd Kohlhepp was also on the property Thursday morning, and he was arrested "immediately." He would likely be charged with kidnapping, Wright said, though more charges are possible. Kohlhepp, 45, has an address listed in Moore, and CBS affiliate WSPA reports he is listed as the owner of the Woodruff property.

Brown also told investigators there may be four bodies on the property, but Wright says investigators aren't sure whether that's true.

"We're trying to make sure we don't have a serial killer on our hands," Wright said. "It very possibly could be what we have."

Brown said she had been fed during her time in captivity, Wright said. She's being treated at a medical center and was in good condition.

Wright said investigative leads led them to the property. He wouldn't detail whether Brown told them any details about Carver's whereabouts.

Carver and Brown were last heard from by family in friends in late August, WSPA reports. The missing case gained national attention after suspicious posts appeared on Carver's Facebook page that his family suspected were posted by someone else. The page was later taken down.

On Thursday, Wright said "it's super possible was doing that to try and get people off his trail, but that's just a thought, I don't know that for sure."

The national sex offender registry lists a kidnapping count for Kohlhepp in Arizona in 1987. Spartanburg County Jail records don't list a charge. A lawyer for Kohlhepp couldn't immediately be located.