Body found near where missing woman was chained up ‘like a dog’ in South Carolina


A body has been found on a South Carolina property where a woman was chained and held captive for weeks, a prosecutor said.

Prosecutor Barry Barnette spoke Friday at a bond hearing for Todd Christopher Kohlhepp, 45, on a kidnapping charge.

Barnette indicated more charges were coming.

The woman and her boyfriend were missing for weeks before she was rescued alive but found “chained up like a dog” in a large storage container Thursday.


The body found on the property hasn’t been identified, but Barnette said the victim saw the suspect shoot and kill her boyfriend.

“She told us this individual did kill him in her presence,” he said.

Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said she told him the bodies of other women could be buried on Kohlhepp’s land.

Kohlhepp is a registered sex offender with a previous kidnapping conviction.

The woman’s boyfriend, 32-year-old Charles Carver, is still missing after the couple disappeared in late August.

This image taken from video shows the exterior of Todd Kohlhepp's home in Moore, S.C., on Friday.
This image taken from video shows the exterior of Todd Kohlhepp’s home in Moore, S.C., on Friday.
(Alex Sanz / Associated Press )

Acting on a tip, deputies found the woman, who was heard banging inside the container in Woodruff, 80 miles northwest of the state capital of Columbia, the sheriff said.

The woman, who had worked for Kohlhepp, had a chain around her neck, Wright said. She told deputies she had been kept in the container for two months and had been fed regularly.

Anderson Police Chief Jim Stewart said his department’s investigation into the couple’s disappearance led authorities to the property near Woodruff.

“We got computer and cellphone records that ultimately led us to the area in Woodruff,” Stewart said. “We knew that was the last place that a cellphone tied to this case pinged.”

Records indicate Kohlhepp is a licensed real estate agent and pilot. As a teenager, he was convicted and sentenced to prison in Arizona for kidnapping and dangerous crimes against children.

Referring to the possibility of other victims, the sheriff said: “We’re trying to make sure that we don’t have a serial killer on our hands.”

South Carolina’s sex offender registry lists a 1986 kidnapping as the reason Kohlhepp is in the database of sex offenders. It indicates he was a juvenile offender.

Matching online prison records from Arizona show that Kohlhepp served about 14 years for the felony and was released in 2001.

The Arizona records show the kidnapping happened in November 1986 in the Phoenix area. He was convicted the following year.

The records do not elaborate on the crime, but do list some violations while Kohlhepp was in prison. The records say he destroyed property and fought with others while incarcerated in 1988 and 1991.


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Noon: This article was updated with news that a body has been found on the property.

This article was originally published at 11:50 a.m.