WOODRUFF, S.C. (WSPA) – A South Carolina sheriff says a heavy police presence in Woodruff Thursday afternoon had to do with an Anderson County couple missing since September.
Spartanburg deputies were at a property off Wofford Rd. in Woodruff Thursday afternoon serving a search warrant. The property is owned by Todd Kohlhepp, according to records. There were officers, K-9s, digging equipment and a helicopter on the scene.
The sheriff said deputies heard a woman banging on the metal container. Inside the container, they found a woman, Kala Brown. She was alive, but Sheriff Chuck Wright says she was chained up like a dog for two months with a chain around her neck in a 30 by 15 metal container.
She is being treated. She told investigators she was being fed.
Authorities have not found her boyfriend Charlie Carver. The couple had been missing since August 31.
Sheriff Wright says they may be dealing with a possible serial killer and there could be four bodies on the property.
Kohlhepp was taken into custody at 10:45 a.m. Thursday in connection to the investigation. He is being held at a detention center. The sheriff says he will likely be charged with at least one count of kidnapping.
Kohlhepp was on the property when authorities served the search warrant. He is listed as property owner of the land where deputies are searching. He is also listed as a sex offender on the South Carolina registry for an October 16, 1987 conviction in Arizona for kidnapping. He was 16-years-old at the time of the conviction.
The registry says he is a Juvenile Tier III type offender, which is a sex offender whose offense is punishable by imprisonment for more than 1 year and:
(A) is comparable to or more severe than the following offenses, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit such an offense:
(i) aggravated sexual abuse or sexual abuse (as described in sections 2241 and 2242 of title 18, United States Code); or
(ii) abusive sexual contact (as described in section 2244 of title 18, United States Code) against a minor who has not attained the age of 13 years; H. R. 4472—6
(B) involves kidnapping of a minor (unless committed by a parent or guardian); or
(C) occurs after the offender becomes a tier II sex offender.
Each state has their own rules for sex offender registration. A kidnapping conviction is a qualifier in South Carolina if the case can be connected to a sex crime. The sentencing judge makes the final decision on registry designation.
South Carolina Labor, Licensing and Regulation says Kohlhepp is listed as “broker in charge” at TKA Real Estate and TKA Real Estate Greenville.
WAVY sister station WSPA talked with Wyatt Real Estate School and they say the law requiring criminal background checks for realtors passed just two years ago. The license lasts two years and his expires in 2017. However, anyone with a license before the law passed doesn’t have to go through a background check.