Police in South Carolina may have solved a 13-year-old case — where four people were killed at a motorcycle shop — with the arrest of a man after authorities found a woman chained on his property, Sheriff Chuck Wright said Saturday. Todd Kohlhepp may also have been responsible for killing three more people in separate incidents, according to authorities.
Kohlhepp, 45, was arrested after Spartanburg County deputies reached his property using the last known cellphone signals of two missing people. On their arrival at the property Thursday, the police found a woman locked in a metal container, reportedly for two months. She told investigators that Kohlhepp shot and killed her boyfriend — 32-year-old Charles Carver — in front of her.
On being questioned by the authorities, Kohlhepp confessed to killing four people — the owner, service manager, mechanic and bookkeeper — of Superbike Motorsports, a motorcycle shop in Chesnee, Spartanburg County, in 2003, Wright said.
On Saturday, the accused also showed the police the places where two more of his victims were buried on the almost 100-acre property near Woodruff, Spartanburg County.
“God answered our prayers. If it wasn’t for him answering our prayers and Todd talking to us, I don’t know that we’d ever solve that case,” Wright said, according to the Associated Press (AP). He added that there was a possibility of more bodies being discovered.
The bodies discovered Saturday are in addition to the body found on the site Friday, identified by Coroner Rusty Clevenger as Carver. Wright, after talking to Carver’s family, said: “They’re obviously heartbroken.”
“It's terrible. I do think this helps with a little bit of closure,” he added. “We prayed for God to show us, and He did.”
Carver had reportedly accompanied his girlfriend — her identity has not been revealed — as she went to do some work on Kohlhepp’s property but were not heard from after that.
Kohlhepp has a history of violence and assault and faced charges of raping a neighbor after forcing her into his home at gunpoint and tying her up when he was 15. After having spent his 20s in an Arizona prison, he built a real estate business for himself, which included the property the bodies were found on.
“It is this type of individual, one with little or no conscience, who presents the greatest risk to the community,” an officer had written in court papers in 1987, regarding the rape case, WHNS-TV reported.
According to Kohlhepp’s father, the then-teenager was full of anger, the AP reported, while a neighbor had gone to the extent of referring to him as a “devil on a chain.”
Kohlhepp had to register as a sex offender after his release from the prison in Arizona. He is now charged with kidnapping the woman in the South Carolina case. According to law enforcement authorities, more charges are expected to be filed soon.