Investigators are still scouring the 100-acre property in South Carolina where a woman who had been missing for two months was found with a chain around her neck inside a metal storage container.
A tip led investigators to the large plot of land in Woodruff, South Carolina. They began combing through the property Thursday morning when they heard “banging” coming from a padlocked container measuring about 30 feet by 15 feet. A woman, identified as 30-year-old Kala Brown, was being held against her will inside, “chained up like a dog,” said Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright.
A suspect has been arrested but officials said the investigation is not over. Here’s what we know about the man in custody as well as the woman and the ongoing search.
Officials said Todd Kohlhepp, 45, is the owner of the land where they are searching. He was on the property when a search warrant was served. Kohlhepp was arrested Thursday at 10:45 a.m. and is in the detention center, where he is being held on one charge of kidnapping as the investigation continues. He could face more charges, depending on the outcome of the investigation, officials said.
Kohlhepp had a bond hearing this afternoon, but bond was not set and the judge said it will be passed on to a circuit court, officials said. He is scheduled to appear back in court Jan. 19. As of Friday, Kohlhepp had not yet hired an attorney and ABC News was unable to reach him personally for comment.
“This individual is a very, very dangerous individual,” 7th Circuit solicitor Barry Barnette said of Kohlhepp during the bond hearing Friday.
Barnette said Kohlhepp was the last person to speak to Brown before she went missing.
According to South Carolina’s sex offender registry, Kohlhepp was required to register as a sex offender in the state after he was convicted of a kidnapping in Arizona in 1987.
According to court documents obtained by ABC News, Kohlhepp was arrested when he was 15 years old for allegedly kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl when he was living with his father in Arizona in 1987. Kohlhepp allegedly went to the girl’s house, threatened her with a blue steel revolver and forced her to come to his home where he tied her up and taped her mouth shut before raping her. He then walked her back to her house and threatened to kill her family if she told anyone.
The girl called police to report the incident with Kohlhepp, whom she said she knew as “Todd Sampsell,” using his father’s last name, according to court documents.
Kohlhepp admitted his guilt to police and told authorities he did it because he was enraged at his father, who divorced from his mother when he was about a year old, according to the documents. Kohlhepp told police he was born in Florida, raised in Georgia and moved around a lot. He eventually became a resident in South Carolina where his mother — identified in court documents as Regina Kohlhepp — lived.
Kohlhepp’s case was moved from juvenile to adult court. The judge who moved his case described Kohlhepp as “very bright and should be advanced academically,” but said he is “behaviorally and emotionally dangerous.”
“At less than the age of 9, this juvenile was impulsive, explosive, and preoccupied with sexual content. He has not changed. He has been unabatedly aggressive to others and destructive of property since nursery school. He destroys his own clothing, personal possessions and pets apparently on whim and caprice,” the judge wrote.
Kohlhepp pleaded guilty, providing that the sexual assault charge be dismissed. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, and required to register as a sex offender.
A psychiatrist’s report included in the court documents obtained by ABC News paints a troubling picture of Kohlhepp’s childhood. Growing up, he destroyed his bedroom with a hammer, destroyed other children’s projects, hit other children, poured Clorox into a goldfish bowl, shot a dog with a BB gun, shredded his own clothes and was dismissed from the Boy Scouts because he was too disruptive, according to the report.
A pre-sentencing investigation report included in the court documents obtained by ABC News states that Kohlhepp’s mother, Regina Kohlhepp, said her son once threatened to kill her if she didn’t let him go live with his natural father. However, Kohlhepp told officials his natural father was physically and verbally abusive. He also said he had suicidal and homicidal thoughts and had issues with his mother and stepfather. He had extensive counseling for his behavior, including hospitalization, when he was as young as 8 or 9-years-old, according to court documents.