Woman chained inside container fed once per day, shown gravesites
The woman who was found chained up inside a shipping container by a South Carolina serial killer told her family she was shown gravesites on his property and threatened to be in one if she escaped.
Todd Kohlhepp, now in custody, confessed to killing seven people, including four at a motorbike shop in 2003 and another couple in 2015.
The South Carolina man has been charged with kidnapping after investigators found missing woman Kala Brown chained up inside a metal storage container on his property in rural Woodruff.
The mother of the self-confessed killer has spoken out and claimed her son is not a "monster" but has instead been "misunderstood".
Ms Brown, 30, and her boyfriend, Charles David Carver, 32, went missing in August near Spartanburg.
Police tracked the missing couple two months later to Kohlhepp’s 95 acre property via a mobile phone ping and discovered Ms Brown held hostage inside a metal container.
Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright told CBS's 48 Hours he was the first to find Ms Brown chained inside a "shark cage that you would put underwater”.
"She was yelling, she was banging very hard on the container," he said.
"She was bound. There was a chain from the top of the cage to something else that went around her neck. … She was distraught, panicked."
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Ms Brown told her family Kohlhepp showed her gravesites on his property and threatened that if she tried to escape she would end up in one of them, CBS reported.
The TV station also reported that Ms Brown was fed only once a day and Kohlhepp allowed Ms Brown out of her cage occasionally to walk around.
The day after Ms Brown was found, police discovered the body of Mr Carver nearby and a coroner's report revealed he had died from a gunshot wound.
Ms Brown has since been released from hospital and is doing “remarkably well” and did not appear to show any signs of being “held captive”, CBS reported.
Regina Tague, the mother of the self-confessed killer, told CBS her son has told her "everything" and insisted her son was not a serial killer.
"Todd is not a monster. He's not even close to it. He wasn’t doing it for enjoyment,” Ms Tague said.
"He was doing it because he was mad and hurt."
When asked why Kohlhepp killed Mr Carver, the mother said her son did it because his hostage got “nasty and was smart-mouthed”.
She claimed her son tied up Ms Brown because he did not know what to do with her after she watched him kill her boyfriend.
Ms Tague said Kohlhepp apologised and confirmed that there were "no more bodies and no more surprises”.
Police said 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.
Kohlhepp confessed to slayings and has been charged with four counts of murder.
Ms Brown's rescue on November 3 led to the break in a 13-year-old cold case bike shop slaying.
Business owner Scott Ponder, 30, his mother, Beverly Guy, 52, and mechanic Chris Sherbert, 26, were fatally shot inside the the Superbike Motorsports motorcycle shop in Chesnee on November 6, 2003.
Kohlhepp confessed to the slayings and has been charged with four counts of murder.
On November 12, he showed investigators the graves of Megan and Johnny Coxie on his property.
Their bodies were riddled with bullet wounds and buried next to the same metal container where Ms 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.