Kala Brown was found alive but her boyfriend is still missing
The mystery surrounding a South Carolina couple who vanished in August took a shocking turn Thursday when authorities found the woman chained alive inside a metal shipping container, where she’d allegedly been for two months.
Charlie Carver, 32, and Kala Brown, 30, disappeared on Aug. 31. They were last seen leaving a friend’s home in Anderson, according to the Find Kara and Charlie Facebook page.
At a Thursday press conference, Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said Todd Christopher Kohlhepp, 45, a registered sex offender and reportedly the owner of the 100-acre property on which the container was found, has been charged with one count of kidnapping in connection with the case.
Wright also said four bodies might be buried near the shipping container where Brown was found.
Here are five things to know about the mystery:
1. Brown was Found Chained Up ‘Like a Dog’ Inside a Storage Container
Wright confirmed on Thursday that Brown was found alive in the container on a property in Woodruff, about 40 miles from Anderson. He said she’d been chained up “like a dog,” with a chain around her neck.
“It’s only by God’s grace that she’s alive. I mean, there’s no reason for her to be locked in that cage like a dog for two months that she’s not more physically damaged than she is,” Wright said at Thursday’s press conference.
Wright said officers responding to an anonymous tip of a sex crime on the 100-acre property heard Brown knocking on the container and freed her.
A friend of Brown’s, Leah Miller, told USA Today that Brown began working for Kohlhepp, cleaning houses for him, weeks before she disappeared.
2. Her Boyfriend Remains Missing
Although Brown was found alive, the whereabouts of her boyfriend remain unknown.
However, his vehicle was found on Kohlhepp’s property during Thursday’s search, WYFF reports.
The last images of Carver are from a security video showing him leaving his workplace on Aug. 31 — the same day friends said they stopped receiving texts from Brown, NBC News reports.
3. Mysterious Facebook Posts Have Appeared on Bofyriend’s Page
A week into the couple’s disappearance, messages appeared on Carver’s Facebook page along with an updated profile photo. However, worried friends and family members said Carver was not very active on the social media site, according to the Find Kara and Charlie Facebook page.
The page says the posts are “uncharacteristic of ones typically made by Charlie.”
“It’s getting people thinking they are found, but they are not,” Carver’s mother, Joanne Shiflet, said in a recent interview with Dateline.
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4. Police Fear Possibility of Serial Killer
Investigators combed Kohlhepp’s property after finding the woman on Thursday and fear he may be a serial killer, USA Today reports, though no bodies had been found as of 7 p.m. on Thursday, NBC reports.
Wright said at the press conference that four bodies might be buried near the container where Brown was found.
The property is about nine miles from Kohlhepp’s residence, in Moore, USA Today reports.
Kohlhepp is expected to appear in court on Friday, according to NBC. It was not immediately clear if he has retained an attorney.
5. Kohlhepp is a Registered Sex Offender
Kohlhepp is listed as a tier III offender in South Carolina, records show.
In 1987, the 45-year-old was convicted of kidnapping, state the records, which indicate the conviction was the result of a sex crime.
FOX Carolina reports Kohlhepp was 15 at the time of the crime. He’d been accused of raping a 14-year-old girl and pointing a gun at her head, but pleaded guilty to kidnapping and served time in prison from 1987 to 2001, the station reports.
Kohlhepp is a real estate broker and a licensed private pilot, USA Today reports.