Kala Brown and Charles David Carver had only been in a relationship for a few months when they chose to live together. They were happy, in love and hopeful for their future together, but they were having difficulty making ends meet.
To make some additional money, Kala started cleaning houses for a man named Todd Kohlhepp. Kala met Todd, a successful real estate broker, five years prior through an ex-boyfriend.
In August of 2016, Todd hired both Kala and Charles to work on his 95-acre property in rural South Carolina. What the young couple did not identify at the time was that Todd was a monster waiting to take them into unbelievable horrors.
How Did Todd Kohlhepp Nasty Plan Begin?
On August 31, 2016, Kala and Charles came to start work on Todd’s property. Todd told Kala and Charles to wait outside as he went into his home. When he returned, he had a gun in his hand, which he used to fire three shots, straight into Charles’ chest.
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Todd later described his mother he killed Charles because “he got nasty and got smart-mouthed.” However, according to Kala, Todd killed Charles so he wouldn’t be able to get in the way of his plan to abuse and hold her captive, “He said it was easier to control someone if you took someone they loved,” she said during an interview with Dr. Phil.
After the shooting, Todd grasped Kala, who was in so much trauma she could hardly say a word, handcuffed and forced her into a metal shipping container. He said that the only choice was left for her to live in there or be dead next to Charles. Todd chained Kala’s neck, feet, and hands, leaving her completely wrapped.
Those who later rescued Kala said she was chained up “like a dog.” Todd told Kala he had buried Charles and that no one would ever be able to find him.
Every day between 1 and 3 pm, Todd would remove the chains on Kala’s neck and feet, keeping her hands bound, and take her into his home. There he would force her to please him sexually in any and every way he desired while pointing a gun at her and reminding her she was only alive to satisfy his needs.
Afterward, Todd would feed Kala and take her back into the storage container. Kala was allowed to use the bathroom once a day and was given a pot of water to bathe every other day. The only items available within Kala’s reach in the pitch-black storage container were crime novels strewn about by Todd.
How the Things Started Noticing?
Charles’ mother’s last contact with her son was via text message on August 31. She grew worried when she did not hear from him the next day. Charles and his mother were extremely close, and it was not normal for them to go even a day without communication. Following her instinct, she reported her son missing.
Meanwhile, Kala’s friend Leah Miller was trying everything she could to get a hold of her. She dropped by the couples’ home, left notes on Kala’s vehicle and continuously texted and called her.
Kala’s mother Bobbie Newsome, told authorities Kala and Charles’ dog was found in their apartment without food or water and that Kala would never purposefully abandon her dog, “That dog is her baby. She’d never leave him like that,” she said. Kala was reported missing on September 5.
Soon enough, a friend of Charles reported receiving strange Facebook messages from his account asking for money for drugs. The friend assumed it was bizarre because she had never known Charles to be a user of drugs.
Additionally, Charles’ Facebook page was constantly updated with ‘milestone‘ posts saying he and Kala were expecting and they had purchased a house and even gotten married. Worried Charles’ Facebook account was being accessed by someone other than him, and that the couple were in danger, authorities filed to retain warrants for both his and Kala’s Facebook accounts, which they received on October 14, almost an entire month later.
When investigators accessed Kala and Charles’ Facebook accounts, they found messages between them about working on Todd’s property on August 31 — the same day Charles’ mother received the last text message from him.
Both Kala and Charles’ last known phone signals showed the couple never left that area. On November 3, investigators made their way to Todd’s property and there they received the biggest shock of their lives.
Slamming noises were heard coming from a shipping container. The metal lock was cut off, and Kala was disheveled, chained up, and frightened inside.
Finally, after two long horrifying months of being raped and assaulted numerous times daily, Kala Brown was rescued. But, it wasn’t all good news. When the authorities asked Kala where Charles was, she said Todd had killed and buried him. Charles’ car was found covered underneath bushes.
In an interview with Dr. Phil, Kala stated Todd hoped that she would form Stockholm Syndrome and that the two would be “happy together.“
Stockholm Syndrome is a psychological coping mechanism presented by abused victims or hostages who bond with their captors.
Some might even feel they have fallen in ‘love’ with their captor, and many will also have post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, and several other mental ailments.
According to Kala, Todd would build a house for the two of them, complete with a soundproof room where Kala, who he referred to as his ‘good kitten‘ would remain indefinitely. However, following Kala’s rescue, detectives found a pre-dug hole next to where Charles was buried and considered Todd was only days away from killing her.
Todd’s Other Victims
Investigators also discovered reviews on Amazon for padlocks where Todd wrote, “Solid locks, have 5 on a shipping container, wont stop them, but sure will slow them down til they are too old to care.”
As it turns out, Charles and Kala weren’t Todd’s only victims.
In 1987, Todd, then 15-years-old, kidnapped a 14-year-old girl in Arizona, bound, strangled and raped her at gunpoint. Afterward, he walked the girl home and threatened to kill her and her entire family if she were to report the crime. Despite his threats, the young girl courageously came forward. Todd was declared guilty of kidnapping. He was sentenced to fifteen years in prison and was ordered to register as a sex offender. He was released in 2001 and moved to South Carolina.
Todd confessed to six additional murders in exchange for a meeting with his mother. He even detailed where the victims were shot, something which had always been kept hidden from the public.
On November 6, 2003, Todd shot and killed four people at Superbike Motorsports in Chesnee, South Carolina. Todd was enraged after failing to return a motorcycle and later told his mother the shop employees humiliated him and refused to return his money.
The victims were Scott Ponder, the store owner, store manager Brian Lucas, mechanic Chris Sherbert and Beverly Guy, the bookkeeper and Scott’s mother. A close friend found their bodies.
Investigators wrongly cast blame on Scott’s wife who was expecting a child during her husband’s death. The case was considered unsolved until Todd’s confession.
Todd also admitted to the murders of a young couple from Spartanburg who had also been hired to work on his property, Johnny Joe Coxie and Meagan Leigh McCraw-Coxie. The couple was initially reported missing on December 22, 2015, and had a young child together.
Todd led investigators to the couple’s bodies; Johnny had been shot in the torso and Meagan in the head. Meagan had been held captive for one week after Johnny was killed and was murdered on or around Christmas Day.
It was later discovered Meagan was a waitress at a Waffle House restaurant in Roebuck, South Carolina, which Todd would frequent. He would leave substantially large tips for the waitresses to coax them to come over to his home. Eventually, the women complained to management and rather than barring Todd from the establishment, only male servers were allowed to attend to him in the future.
On May 26, 2017, Todd narrowly escaped the death penalty by accepting a plea deal. He pleaded guilty to seven counts of murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of criminal sexual assault and was sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences. He claims there are more victims but refuses to say anything further.
What happened when Brown faces Upstate serial killer in the courtroom
In court, an Upstate woman appeared to face the man who chained her up in a storage container and admitted to murdering seven people.
The personal injury lawsuit filed by Brown says Kohlhepp used a firearm to take her hostage while she was cleaning at his home. Brown said Kohlhepp struck her during more than two months of confinement.
“Due to [Kohlhepp’s] harmful and offensive acts, including, but not limited to, actually striking Miss Brown’s person and placing her in chains, Miss Brown suffered severe physical injuries and emotional distress,” the lawsuit states.
She is asking for damages against him in the amount of $364 million for physical assault and battery, as well as severe emotional distress.
The family of Johnny Coxie is also seeking 26 million in damages against Kohlhepp.
An attorney representing Brown said the judge would determine how much money would be awarded to Brown after Kohlhepp failed to answer the civil complaint against him.
Kohlhepp arrived shortly after 1 pm in a white transport van and was taken into the courthouse. Before the lawsuit hearing began, another judge held a brief hearing in the courtroom about Kohlhepp’s estate and assets.
Brown took the stand to testify regarding her medical bills after being kidnapped by Kohlhepp.
Afterward, she addressed the media to express her thanks for the many people who have supported her.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone for all the prayers and the work you put into looking for me,” Brown said. “Anyone out there who ever said a prayer for me, thank you.“
Kohlhepp represented himself in court. During the hearing, he took the stand regarding damages sought by Coxie’s family, saying he didn’t contest shooting Johnny but said it was because the victim was trying to rob him.
Officials have not confirmed Kohlhepp’s account of what happened.
Where is Todd Kohlhepp Today
Kohlhepp is currently serving seven life sentences after pleading guilty to killing Carver, the Coxies, and four people slain in Superbike Motorsports. Beverly Guy, Chris Sherbert, Brian Lucas and Scott Ponder were all shot to death in the bike shop in 2003.
Kala is a woman who is one of the toughest and most daring to exist, received a $6.3M settlement from Todd’s estate, and although money cannot in any way right this wrong, Kala says she’ll recover from this nightmare, and she will never allow Todd destroy her life.