Realtor’s arrest may have cracked serial killer mystery

by Ryan Smith08 Nov 2016
A South Carolina real estate agent who’s accused of kidnapping a woman may harbor even darker secrets, according to a Washington Post report.

On Thursday, Spartanburg County sheriff’s deputies found a missing woman, 30-year-old Kala Brown, “chained like a dog” on the wooded property of Todd Christopher Kohlhepp, according to the Post. Brown told authorities she had been held captive for two months. She and her boyfriend, Charles “David” Carver, had been missing since Aug. 31. Further investigation of Kohlhepp’s property led to the discovery of Carver’s body buried in a shallow grave.

But Carver may be just one of Kohlhepp’s victims. Police now say the South Carolina real estate agent may be a serial killer responsible for the deaths of at least seven people.

In addition to Carver, Kohlhepp showed authorities where he buried two other people – so far unidentified – on his 95-acre property, according to the Post. And he has reportedly confessed to killing four people in a motorcycle shop in Chesnee, S.C., in 2003.

It was a chilling contrast to the public face Kohlhepp showed the world. His official bio as a real estate agent touted his accomplishments and education – bachelor’s degrees in both business administration and computer science, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society membership, a pilot’s license.

But that was only his public face. Privately, Kohlhepp had a much darker history. A registered sex offender, Kohlhepp had been convicted in the 1986 rape of a teenage girl in Arizona, according to the Post. When he was 15, Kohlhepp went to a neighbor’s house, held a gun to a 14-year-old girl’s head, and forced her to come back to his home, where he bound and sexually assaulted her.

He struck a bargain at trial, pleading guilty to only the kidnapping charge, and was sentenced to 15 years in prison, according to the Post. He was released in 2001.

When applying for his South Carolina real estate in 2006, Kohlhepp explained his sex offender status by claiming it was the result of a heated argument with a girlfriend.

It’s getting more difficult to find evidence on the internet of Kohlhepp’s life as a real estate agent. His website address now redirects to “server error” messages. Kohlhepp’s Zillow listing also appears to have been scrubbed. However, as of Monday his Zillow customer rating was still visible in Google search results. He got five stars.
 

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