More Bodies Tied to Suspected South Carolina Serial Killer? 'I Guarantee': Expert
After Kala Brown was rescued from inside a storage container, police uncovered at least three more bodies nearby — and her alleged captor’s chilling secrets. Subscribe now to PEOPLE, or pick up this week’s issue for much more on this case.
It’s been two weeks since Todd Kohlhepp was arrested after a chained-up woman was rescued from a metal shipping container on the approximately 100 acres he owns in Woodruff, South Carolina. Since then, authorities have combed the suspected serial killer’s expansive property — uncovering at least three bodies and linking Kohlhepp to the deaths of four others.
Investigators continued their search this week, and at least one criminal profiler tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue that he thinks they’re going to find more victims.
“I guarantee you there are more bodies out there,” says John Kelly, a criminal profiler for nearly 20 years and the president of profiling team S.T.A.L.K. Inc.
Kelly alleges, “[Kohlhepp] has other bodies. These guys always hold some stuff back from the police. They need to have their little secret. They need something they can have control over. If you look at these other bondage, fantasy-driven serial killers, they don’t stop. These guys always give you a good body count.”
After his arrest, authorities say Kohlhepp confessed to killing four people in a 2003 mass shooting inside a motorcycle shop. He also led investigators to two dead bodies on his property, buried in shallow graves, belonging to Johnny Joe Coxie, 29, and his 25-year-old wife, Meagan Leigh McCraw Coxie. The local hitchhiking couple had gone missing earlier this year.
A third body was found in a third grave on the property and identified as Brown’s boyfriend, Charlie Carver, who Kohlhepp allegedly shot in the head after their abduction. The couple was reported missing in late August (after which strange posts began appearing on Carver’s Facebook page).
Kohlhepp has so far been charged only in the 2003 killings. He has not entered a plea and has said he plans to represent himself in court. Authorities say more charges are likely, including murder. He remains in jail.
Kelly tells PEOPLE that Kohlhepp — a 45-year-old amateur pilot and realtor who spent 15 years in jail for raping a girl at gunpoint when he was 15 — is possibly a “hybrid serial killer” because of the nature of his alleged crimes. Kelly says that, like Ted Bundy, Kohlhepp could apparently be charming when he needed to.
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“This guy’s a mass murderer who admitted to killing four people at one time, but he’s also a sexual predator,” Kelly explains. “The only other serial killer I think that possibly comes close to him is BTK.”
In 1974, Dennis Rader — dubbed the “BTK Killer” by police for his use of bondage and torture — entered a home in Wichita, Kansas, and murdered four people. Two of the victims were children, including an 11-year-old girl he’d hung in the home’s basement. In subsequent years, before his 2005 arrest, BTK’s focus turned toward women as he was driven by sexual desires.
“Kohlhepp is in that same class,” Kelly says. He believes Kohlhepp lived for “the stimulation of the hunt: finding, controlling and dominating these women.”
Kelly says serial killers he’s profiled “are very focused on the stalk, the hunt, the capture and eventually, the kill. This guy here is very interesting, because, at the root of every serial killer is volcanic rage and impulse control. That rage showed itself in that motorbike shop in 2003.”
Kelly suspects that the investigation will soon shift toward other places Kohlhepp has either visited in recent years or had access to because of his real estate job. “Police are also going to be looking at other hitchhikers who’ve disappeared and prostitutes that are missing,” Kelly says. “We don’t know the whole story yet on this guy.”
Court and medical records obtained by PEOPLE show Kohlhepp was diagnosed as having “anti-social personality disorder” after his arrest in the late ’80s for raping a 14-year-old girl.
“That’s a fancy word people in my field came up with for ‘sociopath,’ ” Kelly says.
He thinks Kohlhepp likely spent his time in jail honing his impulses. “These guys, they go in — but they know that no one can stop them from thinking about their fantasies,” Kelly says. “They know no one can control their mind. He comes out after 15 years, and he’s ready to continue because he can’t stop these fantasies or these urges and cravings.”
Kelly tells PEOPLE he suspects the two months after her abduction were likely “a nightmare” for Brown. (Her family says she is now recovering, with good days and bad, and other victims’ relatives tell PEOPLE that learning the truth of what happened has been tempered by grief.)
“What blows my mind is, at 15-years-old, [Kohlhepp] let the girl go, the girl he raped,” Kelly says. “She called the cops, and he went to jail. He figured out real fast that if there are no witnesses, I don’t get arrested. He’s no dumbbell.”
Kelly predicts it’s only a matter of time before more families join the Browns, Carvers and Coxies in receiving the worst kind of news.
“What would he have done if he wasn’t in prison for those 15 years?” Kelly says. “What’s he been up to the last 15 years?”