A South Carolina man arrested earlier this week after a missing woman was found chained inside a metal storage unit has admitted to killing at least seven people, including the woman's boyfriend, the local sheriff said Saturday.
Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said that Todd Kohlhepp, 45, confessed to shooting and killing four people at a local motorcycle shop in 2003.
"God is good," Wright said, adding that the community is no longer wondering who's responsible for the "four people who were brutally murdered."
Kohlhepp's confession came one day before the 13th anniversary of the deaths of the owner, service manager, mechanic and bookkeeper of Superbike Motorsports in Chesnee.
Wright says Kohlhepp also showed law enforcement officers Saturday the gravesites of two of his other victims buried on his 95-acre property near Woodruff. Details of those cases were not immediately available.
Earlier Saturday, authorities identified a seventh body found at the site as belonging to 32-year-old Charles Carver, who vanished with his girlfriend, 30-year-old Kala Brown, earlier this year when the two answered an ad for work on the property.
Kohlhepp, in handcuffs and wearing an orange jumpsuit, was at the site for less than an hour. Wright said the 45-year-old suspect had been "very cooperative" and had "told us some stuff nobody else ought to know."
The sheriff says it's possible more bodies will be uncovered.
Kohlhepp's confessions were the latest twist in a bizarre case that gained national attention Thursday, after Spartanburg County deputies were brought to his property by the last known cellphone signals of Carver and Brown.
Brown, who was found chained by her neck in a metal storage container, told investigators that Kohlhepp shot and killed her boyfriend in front of her.
"They're obviously heartbroken," Wright said after talking to Carver's family. "It's terrible. I do think this helps with a little bit of closure. .. We prayed for God to show us, and He did."
Carver died of multiple gunshot wounds. An anthropologist is helping determine how long Carver was buried, said Coroner Rusty Clevenger. He declined to say how many times Carver had been shot.
Kohlhepp is charged with kidnapping the woman. Authorities say more charges are coming.
Kohlhepp is a registered sex offender who spent his 20s in prison after being convicted of raping a teenaged neighbor after forcing her into his home at gunpoint and tying her up. At the time, Kohlhepp's father told court officials the only emotion the teen was capable of showing was anger, and a neighbor called him a "devil on a chain."
Police said Kohlhepp had a crush on the 14-year-old girl, who was friendly, but not romantic toward him. After raping her, he said he would kill her 6-year-old and 3-year-old siblings that she was babysitting if she called the police. His first question to officers when he was arrested was how long he was going to have to spend in prison, according to court papers.
He was smart, angry and felt the world owed him something, his chief probation officer wrote in court papers in Arizona in 1987.
"It is this type of individual, one with little or no conscience, who presents the greatest risk to the community," the officer wrote in court papers obtained by Fox Carolina.
But even as his father felt he couldn't be helped, and as the neighbor recounted how Kohlhepp laughed when her son cried as he rolled him down the street locked in a dog carrier, court records show Kohlhepp still had one supporter in 1987 -- his mother.
She wrote a letter asking the judge to send Kohlhepp to his grandparents instead of prison.
"He even walked the girl home," she wrote. "Does that sound like a dangerous criminal?"
After his release from prison, Kohlhepp managed to get a private pilot license, build a real estate firm with more than a dozen agents and buy nearly 100 acres of land and erect a fence around it said to have cost $80,000.
Kohlhepp has a house about 9 miles away in Moore, where neighbor Ron Owen said Kohlhepp was very private, but when they did talk across the fence, he was a "big bragger."
Kohlhepp liked to talk about the money he made day trading online, for example, and about his two BMWs. He recently told Owen, 76, that he'd paid $80,000 to put the chain-link fence around his property where the woman was found.
"We didn't see any signs whatsoever that this was going on," Owen said. "My first reaction's a baseball bat, but I know I'm not to take that in my own hands. God will deal with him."
Kohlhepp followed the rules and admitted he had a felony conviction when he applied for his real estate license in 2006. But his letter claimed the charge was full of lies. He said he argued with his girlfriend, police were called, he had a gun and was caught up in a crackdown on gun violence.
Source: The Associated Press