Inside the Dramatic Rescue of Woman Locked in Container and 'Chained Like a Dog' by Serial Killer

Kala Brown was the sole survivor of serial killer Todd Kohlhepp. The abductions and murders committed by Kohlhepp are the focus of a 2019 limited series on Investigation Discovery

Kala Brown had been missing for more than two months when authorities chasing a tip about a sex crime ventured onto a rural South Carolina property and heard banging coming from within a metal shipping container.

Inside they discovered the disheveled 30-year-old woman in restraints with a locked chain wrapped around her neck. Yet even as they worked with bolt cutters to free her, deputies stumbled onto another horrific revelation.

"Do you know where your buddy is?" they asked about Brown's boyfriend, who disappeared with her on Aug. 31, 2016.

"Charlie?" Brown answers in the video of her rescue — a riveting moment in the three-part limited series Serial Killer: Devil Unchained, which premiered in July 2019 on Investigation Discovery and is now available to stream on Discovery+.

"He shot him," Brown asserts in a strong voice, still in restraints. "Todd Kohlhepp shot Charlie Carver three times in the chest. He wrapped him in a blue tarp, put him in the bucket of the tractor [and] locked me down here, I've never seen him again."

The charge abruptly spun the image of Kohlhepp from kidnapper to killer. He would later plead guilty to the murders of Carver and six others over 13 years and be sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

"It was pretty emotional, to say the least, when she was found," Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright told reporters on the scene, as shown on the series premiere episode, "especially when she was chained like a dog."

Source: Kala Brown/Facebook
Source: Kala Brown/Facebook

Kohlhepp was arrested after police freed Brown on Nov. 3, 2016, from the container on Kohlhepp's nearly 100-acre property in Woodruff, S.C. The body of 32-year-old Carver was later found on the property.

Source: Facebook

Authorities said Kohlhepp, while in custody, admitted to Carver's murder and also to the quadruple killings of Beverly Guy, Brian Lucas, Scott Ponder and Chris Sherbert — all shot to death in 2003 inside Superbike Motorsports in Chesnee, S.C.

Kohlhepp's sixth and seventh murder charges were in connection to the 2015 deaths of Johnny and Meagan Coxie, whose bodies were recovered from Kohlhepp's property after Brown's rescue. They went missing in December 2015.

Todd Kohlhepp - News
Tim Kimzey/The Spartanburg Herald-Journal/AP

Meagan, according to an indictment, also had allegedly been held in Kohlhepp's storage container for about six days after she disappeared, chained at both the wrists and ankles.

Brown was located after authorities learned from her Facebook page that she and Carver had planned to go work on Kohlhepp's property on the day they disappeared. In an interview three months after her recovery, she said Kohlhepp shot her boyfriend in front of her before taking her prisoner.

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Brown said she survived by feeding her captor's affection for her. Kohlhepp seemed "infatuated" with her, remarking on her beauty and intelligence. "He didn't want to kill me; he wanted to keep me," she said during her interview on Dr. Phil.

"I had to stay alive in order to be found, and I realized that it was easier if he felt things were going his way," she told Phil McGraw. "So I made him think whatever I had to ... to stay alive and to keep him from abusing me."

"According to the stories he told me, I'd already been alive longer than anyone else, so … I believed [my strategy] was working," she said.

The Investigation Discovery series revs up when journalist Maria Awes receives a call from the accused killer, who claims he has murdered more than his seven victims. Awes then follows his trail to learn whether his story might be true.

The three-part limited series Serial Killer: Devil Unchained is available to stream on Discovery+.

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