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Home » Blog » Todd Kohlhepp: Realtor, Pilot, Kidnapping Serial Killer

Todd Kohlhepp: Realtor, Pilot, Kidnapping Serial Killer

Todd Kohlhepp stands before a fence with a "no trespassing" signTodd Christopher Kohlhepp was well-respected in his line of work. The 45-year-old real estate agent, also a licensed pilot, managed his own business: Todd Kohlhepp & Associates. He had two offices and several agents under his management. One of his employees, Cherry Laurens, met Kohlhepp in college. They studied statistics together and went on to develop a positive professional relationship.

“Working with him he was an excellent boss,” said Laurens. “He stood up for us whenever we needed him.”

It’s likely that the rest of Kohlhepp’s associates felt similarly. After all, they did choose to work for him. And as far as his personal life went, no eyebrows raised there either. “Todd was — in my opinion — a likable guy,” said Ron Owen, his neighbor in Spartanburg Count, South Carolina.

As it turns out, “likable” does not equate to nice. Because in spite of all appearances, Todd Kohlhepp had a few skeletons in his closet, with more on the way. Just ask the woman found chained like a dog on his property last Thursday.

Two confusing, anxious months:

In the final days of August, 30-year-old Kala Brown and her boyfriend, 32-year-old Charles Carver, fell off the face of the earth. Texts and phone calls went unanswered. Their social media accounts went dark. Poof.

Poof, that is, until Carver’s Facebook page was suddenly active once more. But something was off. It didn’t sound like Carver. Around the middle of October, Carver and Browns’ loved ones began to grow suspicious about the strange posts that’d been popping up on his Facebook:

“Sometimes late at night I dig a hole in the back yard to keep the nosy neighbor’s guessing.”

“If I weren’t crazy, I’d be insane.”

Stuff like that. A whole lot of stuff like that.

At first, people reasonably assumed that Carver’s account had been hacked by spammers. These things do happen. However, your run-of-the-mill spammer doesn’t usually blow up social media accounts with content that actually involves the people whose accounts were hacked.

For instance, a concerned individual commented on one of Carver’s posts, “Where the hell is Kala Brown???” and received the eery response, “kala is with her husband charlie.” As previously mentioned, Kala and Charlie were not married.

This kind of stuff was decidedly “not like Charlie.” His family and Brown’s reported the couple as missing and two days later, the Anderson Police Department pinged Brown’s phone. It showed up on Todd Kohlhepp’s property. Two days later it went dead.

It took two weeks to get a search warrant. In the meantime, Anderson Police flew helicopters over Kohlhepp’s property. Their eyes in the sky didn’t learn much except that the property, being 100 acres, was huge and largely overgrown. They saw patches of child-sized weeds, a bunch of trees, and a tall chain-link fenced that encircled the entire property. In other words, the only thing they learned was they’d have to search from the ground.

Of course, they probably also saw Kohlhepp’s two-car garage and giant storage container from the clouds — they just couldn’t really make much of it.

The waiting period for their search warrant eventually ended and police officers made a run through Kohlhepp’s property on November 3. When they passed by the 30 feet by 15 feet storage container, they heard somebody banging on the walls from the inside: this was Kala Brown.

Two long, dark months:

Although details are still emerging, Brown has provided us with a general description of what happened.

She and Charles Carver had been working with Todd Kohlhepp, cleaning houses for his real estate business. They drove to his own property to do some cleaning work near the end of August. When they arrived, Kohlhepp whipped out a gun and took the two of them hostage. According to Brown’s friend, to whom these events were related, it all happened very fast.

At some point, Kohlhepp shot Carver several times in front of Brown, who he spared. She was chained by her neck to the inside of that huge storage container, where she lived in darkness for almost the entire two months.

According to her friend, Daniel Herren, the only time Brown was ever allowed to leave her prison was for brief walks:

“He never took the chain off of her, but he was taking her around, let her get, not so much exercise, but let her walk around some. It didn’t sound like it was everyday. It was kind of sporadic.”

Kohlhepp fed Brown just once a day at 6 p.m. There’s not yet word on what she ate to stay alive for two months, but Herron suspects it wasn’t anything too terrible. “He was in a weird, sick kind of way being, I guess, kind of humane, as far as feeding her.”

Aside from the obvious emotional and physical trauma associated with being chained like a dog inside a dark storage unit for two months, Kala Brown was fortunately injury-free. She was able to check out of the hospital without sleeping overnight and has since been staying with her family.

As for Kohlhepp…

Finding Kala Brown inside the storage unit was more than enough to warrant arresting Todd Kohlhepp on the spot. She was not, however, the only skeleton in his closet. I’m not even talking about the “unbelievable” amount of ammunition they found.

The day after finding Brown, police officers and cadaver dogs dug up the body of Charles Carver in a shallow grave on the property. Brown herself told the officer who found her that there were at least four more bodies on the property.

See, when the police arrested Kohlhepp, he also confessed to another crime: the 2003 quadruple murder at the Superbike Motorsports bike shop in Chesnee, South Carolina. This murder had, up to this week, been unsolved. And while it’s uncertain whether or not the victims from this murder are the same bodies allegedly buried on Kohlhepp’s property, the numbers do add up, and Kohlhepp’s account of the murder was creepily accurate. According to the Spartanburg Count Sheriff’s report, “Kohlhepp gave details… that only the killer would know.”

It doesn’t even stop there.

Go back further, and we learn that he was registered as a sex offender in the eighties. Kohlhepp, who was 15 years old in 1986, lived in Tempe, Arizona.

One night, when his 14-year-old neighbor was watching her siblings, Kohlhepp came into her home and held a gun to her head, demanding that she follow him back to his house. There, he covered her mouth and bound her hands with duct tape. He threatened to kill her and her siblings if she ratted him out, then raped her.

Thankfully, she did report Kohlhepp and he wasn’t able to follow through with his threat. The police arrested him, and after he turned 16, he found himself charged with kidnapping, to be punished by 15 years behind bars. The sexual assault charges were swept under the rug thanks to a plea deal.

So here we have Todd Christopher Kohlhepp: a known rapist who served a lengthy prison sentence for kidnapping, who afterword managed to get both his real estate and pilot’s licenses before committing at least seven murders and kidnapping another person. What are we going to do with him?

Well, first police officers are going to find those bodies. Kohlhepp is currently being held without bond for just kidnapping charges — these are, after all, his only crime that can be thoroughly confirmed. The word serial killer is being thrown around, however, and it seems like this is a much more descriptive label for the man in question. I think it’s say to say that Todd Kohlhepp is going away for a long, long time.

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