A woman reported missing in August along with her boyfriend has been found held captive "chained like a dog" since her disappearance, the sheriff said, and a registered sex offender has been arrested in connection with the investigation.
Kala Brown, 30, and Charlie Carver, 32, of Anderson County, were reported missing Aug. 31.
Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said deputies found Brown Thursday morning on a property on Wofford Road in Spartanburg County where she had been held against her will.
Deputies were searching the property when they heard Brown banging from inside a metal storage container. Wright said that information from a sex crime investigator led them to the property.
Wright said Brown was “chained inside the container like a dog.” He said Brown told investigators she had been held in the container for two months with a chain around her neck. The metal container is 30 feet long, 15 wide and 10 to 12 feet high, Wright said.
He said Brown had been fed regularly, but she was "obviously traumatized."
"It was pretty emotional, to say the least, when she was found -- especially when she was chained like a dog. She had a chain around her neck! Its only by God’s grace we found that little girl alive."
Wright said Brown told investigators that there might be four bodies on the property, but investigators have not yet confirmed that information.
"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."
He said they found lots of weapons and ammunition on the property. The search of the nearly 100-acre property is expected to continue for some time. Wright said they had a tip that there are bear traps on the property, so investigators are being extra cautious.
Wright said that Brown was taken to a medical facility.
Wright said deputies arrested Todd Kohlhepp, 45, who lives off Highway 290 in Moore, in connection with the investigation.
Kohlhepp is listed as the owner of the Wofford Road property in Spartanburg County tax records.
He advertises himself as a realtor for TK & A Real Estate (Todd Kohlhepp & Associates LLC).
According to SLED records, Kohlhepp is a convicted sex offender who was added to the registry after being convicted of kidnapping in Arizona in 1987, when he was 16.
Wright said Brown and Kohlhepp were acquainted, but investigators are still looking into the connection.
Wright said Kohlepp will be charged with kidnapping, and other charges are possible.
"He’s currently incarcerated," Wright said. "We’re trying to get all this sorted out and figure out what were going to charge him with. One of the charges will be kidnapping, it could be murder. It could be a number of things."
Kohlhepp will go before a Spartanburg County Magistrate judge for a formal bond hearing at 2:00 p.m. Friday.
Investigators are continuing to search for Carver.
Brown and Carver dated for several months and moved in together last summer, according to their parents. Carver was in the process of getting a divorce, the parents said.
A friend of Brown’s told police that she had dinner with her on Aug. 29 at her apartment in Anderson Crossing Apartments. She said she spoke to Brown the next day, but after a text on the morning of Aug. 31, all communication ceased.
Brown and Carver’s parents found the apartment the couple shared unlocked and Brown’s Pomeranian, Romeo, with no food or water.
Police found Brown’s car in the parking lot of the complex. According to investigators, Brown’s cellphone service provider said there had been no activity on the phone for 48 hours, and they were unable to ping the phone.
After the disappearance, there was no activity on Brown’s Facebook page, which her family said was unusual for her.
The family also said that although Carver was not typically active on Facebook, his profile picture was changed Sept. 6, and comments were posted that were “uncharacteristic of ones typically made by Charlie.”
Several postings on Carver’s Facebook page said the couple was fine and they simply left. The posts appeared after the couple was reported missing. Brown’s and Carver’s families said they believe that the Facebook account has been hacked. They said the photos that the person used were posted more than a year ago, and the wording doesn’t sound like Carver.
Carver’s 2002 white Pontiac Grand Prix with South Carolina tag number HWY124 has not been located.