Read a more detailed synopsis of this case here.
Serial killer Todd Kohlhepp, who was recently convicted of the murders of seven people in South Carolina and sentenced to seven life sentences, is back in the news again. Kohlhepp authored an eight-page letter that he sent to The Spartanburg Herald-Journal, and in the letter he claimed to have killed many more people.
Kohlhepp also stated that investigators ignored his claims. “Yes there is more than seven. I tried to tell investigators and I did tell FBI, but it was blown off,” he wrote. “It’s not an addition problem, it’s a multiplication problem. Leaves the state and leaves the country. Thank you private pilot’s license.”
This paragraph seems to imply that there may be victims outside of South Carolina and even outside of the United States.
“We can’t comment specifically on what we’re doing, other than what I’ve said before—that we have a pending investigation,” said Don Wood, chief division council with the FBI's office in Columbia.
Kohlhepp first came into public consciousness in late 2016 when a woman was found on his property trapped inside a storage container. Screen grabs soon surfaced of Kohlhepp’s creepy reviews of items such as locks, shovels, and knives, and the news continued to come to light about his other crimes and his strange personality.
Todd Kohlhepp’s crimes
On November 3rd, 2016 police walked onto Kohlhepp's 100-acre propert, following a tip that had come in from the Spartanburg County sex crimes investigators. They had traced the last known cellphone signal of a missing couple to Kohlhepp’s rural acreage in Woodruff. When a deputy and her colleagues went to the property to serve a search warrant to Kohlhepp, she heard loud banging coming from the woods. The team followed the noises and came upon a 30-foot metal shipping container. When they knocked on the side, they heard the voice of 30-year-old Kala Brown, the woman in question, who had been missing since late August, begging for help.
Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright told the media that Kala had been “chained like a dog” inside the shipping container for the two months since she had been reported missing, stating it was "a hellish place to be locked in hot weather. No lights, no windows, no air flow." Kala told the deputies, who used tools found on the property to free her from the chain, that her boyfriend had been shot and killed in front of her and was buried on the property. She also told them that she believed they would find at least four more bodies during their search.
Kohlhepp admitted to the murder of Kala’s boyfriend Charlie Carver, who was 32-years-old. The couple had been working for Kohlhepp at the time. After her capture, Kohlhepp corresponded with social media friends of the couple, acting as if he were Kala.
During interrogation, Kohlhepp also admitted to the murders of four other people on November 6, 2003. These unsolved killings had long been known as the “Superbike Murders.” Kohlhepp was apparently enraged when shop workers teased him, which led to the murders of business owner Scott Ponder, his mother, Beverly Guy, service manager Brian Lucas, and employee Chris Sherbert. Kohlhepp’s mother stated that he had wanted to be taught how to ride a motorcycle, but he had been embarrassed by the staff: “They sent him down a big field with plants this high and he fell off and they laughed and laughed at him.”
On November 6, 2016, Kohlhepp also led police to the remains of two more people on his property whose bodies were identified as Meagan Coxie, 25, and Johnny Coxie, 29.
Kohlhepp had a previous history of criminal behavior and had spent 15 years in an Arizona state prison for kidnapping a 14-year-old girl when he was a teenager.
The letter to the press
At a later point in his letter, Kohlhepp also stated, “At this point, I really don’t see reason to give numbers or locations,” citing that he saw no benefit to himself.
Kala spoke of her experience on Dr. Phil’s show last February, her only public interview. Kala stated that Kohlhepp had claimed to her that he had many, many more victims. Kohlhepp apparently gloated to her that he the murders he had committed were “nearing the triple digits.”
Last week Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright gave an interview in which he stated that he was unaware of any more unsolved murders that could be related to Kohlhepp: “We don’t have anything active right this second, but we’ve always left it open-ended in case he wants to say there’s some stuff we need to check,” he said. “If he’s got something to say, we’re more than willing to listen.”
Anderson Police Dept Captain Mike Walters believes there could certainly be more victims. “I’m sure there are more. I’m just thinking they’re more likely in Florida or elsewhere,” Walters said.
It’s true, though, that serial killers like Kohlhepp thrive on their own public image, and make attempts to continue to get attention.“People like him,” Walters said, “they want the cops to get the notoriety. They’re always going to throw bait out there often to keep their name out there.”