'I wish we could have done more': Cops speak of horror when rescuing Kala Brown from 'serial killer'

The two police officers that rescued kidnap victim Kala Brown from her captor's South Carolina farm have broken down while recalling the shocking discovery.

Detective Charlyn Ezell found Ms Brown on Todd Kohlhepp’s 100-acre property, two-months after she was locked up “like a dog” in a metal storage container.

“She just looked at me and said thank you so much for finding me,” an emotional Detective Ezell told ABC.

Couple Kala Brown and Charlie Carver went missing in August.
Couple Kala Brown and Charlie Carver went missing in August.
Todd Kohlhepp entered the courtroom of Judge Jimmy Henson for a bond hearing in Spartanburg. Photo: AP
Todd Kohlhepp entered the courtroom of Judge Jimmy Henson for a bond hearing in Spartanburg. Photo: AP

Ms Brown, who had been hired to clean the homes that Kohlhepp was selling, was last seen leaving a friend’s home with her boyfriend Charlie Carver on August 30.

Before she was imprisoned by the convicted sex offender, Ms Brown watched on as her boyfriend was gunned down. His body was later exhumed from a shallow grave.

“I think we all saw a lot of things that day that are going to stay with us,” Detective Bradley Whitfield said.

“It could be anybody’s child, anybody’s wife or husband. I wish we could have done more.”

Kohlhepp was swiftly arrested after Ms Brown was recovered, confessing to killing seven people, including four at a motorbike shop in 2003 and another couple in 2015.

"When I saw Kala, that was an amazing sight," Det Ezell told the Independent Mail.

"I told her mother later that it was almost as beautiful as if I were seeing my own child. To me, she was beautiful. I had cold chills."

The bodies of the young married couple were found very close to where Kala Brown was held prisoner in a metal storage container. Photo: Facebook
The bodies of the young married couple were found very close to where Kala Brown was held prisoner in a metal storage container. Photo: Facebook
The couple were identified by their dental records and 'excessive' number of tattoos.
The couple were identified by their dental records and 'excessive' number of tattoos.


Earlier this month, the bodies of Megan and Johnny Coxie were also found on Kohlhepp’s farm, riddled with bullet wounds and buried next to the same metal container where Brown was kept captive.

The couple were reported missing by Ms Coxie’s mother on December 22 and while police are yet to establish exactly when they were shot dead, Spartanburg coroner Rusty Clavenger said he believed the pair had been buried for at least 11-months.

“There were some parts of the bodies we were not able to recover. But I really don't want to get into that because there is an open investigation,” Mr Clavenger said.

The accused murderer led police to their shallow graves, where they identified the Coxies by dental records and their "excessive" number of tattoos.

The 25-year-old woman was found with a bullet wound in her head, while her 29-year-old husband had multiple bullet wounds in his torso.

Kohlhepp showed officers where he claimed to have buried two other victims on his Woodruff property, close to where they found the woman chained inside the container. Photo: AP
Kohlhepp showed officers where he claimed to have buried two other victims on his Woodruff property, close to where they found the woman chained inside the container. Photo: AP
Authorities dug up Todd Kohlhepp's 100-acre property after he led them to the personal grave sites of bodies on his farmland. Photo: USA Today
Authorities dug up Todd Kohlhepp's 100-acre property after he led them to the personal grave sites of bodies on his farmland. Photo: USA Today

While police refused to speculate on how the victims came across Kohlhepp or what his alleged motive to murder them was, they did disclose that the married couple had been arrested in the past and known to panhandle on the streets around Spartanburg.

“Both had history of pan handling… in an effort to make money," Spartanburg County Lieutenant Kevin Bobo said.

The 45-year-old Kohlhepp recently confessed to murdering four people in 2003 on the condition that he was allowed to see his mother and inform her first. He also requested money be withdrawn from his personal bank account to continue payment of a young woman’s college education.

Todd Christopher Kohlhepp has admitted to seven killings since a woman was found on his South Carolina property chained up 'like a dog'. Photo: Yahoo US
Todd Christopher Kohlhepp has admitted to seven killings since a woman was found on his South Carolina property chained up 'like a dog'. Photo: Yahoo US
Scott Waldrop, who lives near the property owned by Kohlhepp, talks about knowing him and talking with him on a number of occasions. Photo: AP
Scott Waldrop, who lives near the property owned by Kohlhepp, talks about knowing him and talking with him on a number of occasions. Photo: AP

Scott Waldrop, who's lived next door to the Woodruff property for nearly 22 years, said he thought Kohlhepp was a "serious Doomsday prepper" who liked his privacy, but "he didn't seem like a threat".

He added Kohlhepp paid him to put no trespassing signs, cut trees and do other odd jobs around the property. Kohlhepp also installed deer cameras and put bear traps throughout.

"I just hate to know somebody who's done something like this," he said.

Kohlhepp is a real estate broker, pilot and convicted sex offender.

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