Chained Like An Animal: The Story of Kala Brown’s Tortuous Ordeal

In 2016, Kala Brown and her boyfriend Charlie Carver went missing under suspicious circumstances. Soon the case received national attention when more and more strange details unfolded, including fake Facebook posts. Before too long, authorities had a suspect with an incredibly sinister history behind him.

Kala Brown and Charlie Carver

Kala Brown and Charlie Carver

Thirty-year-old Kala Brown and 32-year-old Charlie Carver were a relatively newly-paired couple who seemed to be very happy together. According to their friend Lindsey Mayson, who spoke to the Daily Beast, Kala and Charlie had been dating each other for a few months. She also noted that they had recently moved into an apartment together in August of 2016. The night they disappeared, Lindsey was supposed to have dinner with the couple and introduce her new boyfriend to them. Little did Lindsey or any of Kala and Charlie’s family and friends know, but something sinister was lurking around the corner for the happy couple.

Missing Persons And A Left Behind Dog

Missing Persons And A Left Behind Dog

On August 31st of 2016, the family reported Kala and Charlie missing. The two were last seen when Charlie went to work. He and Kala had also made plans that very night for dinner. It was certainly not like them to suddenly flake out on friends and not show up to a pre-arranged dinner. Another red flag was that Kala’s beloved dog was left behind in the apartment. The dog, named Romeo, was left with no food or water. Kala’s mom, Bobbie Newsome spoke to NBC News and said, “That dog is her baby. She’d never leave him like that.” Another terrifying detail was that Charlie’s car was gone but Kala’s was still there. The family definitely believed that the two had not left the apartment voluntarily.

Strange Facebook Messages

Strange Facebook Messages

This strange missing person’s case took a very disturbing turn not long after the couple went missing. The sudden development even garnered national attention for the case, although the mystery only deepened. Someone began posting Facebook updates, photos, and even responding to messages of various friends. The person claimed to be Charlie and he claimed that he and Kala were fine. Friends and family were immediately suspicious and originally thought that Charlie’s accounts had been hacked. Charlie’s mother, Joanne Shiflet, spoke with NBC News and said that all of the activity was “getting people thinking they are found, but they are not.”

Who Was Posting?

Who Was Posting?

Joanne also said that all of the posts and messages did not seem like it was her son, it didn’t sound like how he talked and the photos were all from over a year before. The police, as well as Facebook, attempted to investigate who could have possibly posted on the account. Family and friends of the couple were becoming increasingly concerned with each passing day as it certainly seemed like something terrible must have taken place. Soon it became apparent that whoever had made the posts was up to something ominous and it became even more clear that the origin of those messages needed to be found in order to find out what happened to Kala and Charlie.

The Strangely Worded Posts

The Strangely Worded Posts

The posts began to claim that the couple was okay. The Facebook posts said, “I’m just missing to everyone else. We [are] both ok. There is only one person that knows where we are … the person that means the most to me and Kala she knows where we are and we are coming that way forever.” The unknown person also used the account to claim that Charlie and Kala were expecting a daughter, had gotten married and had even bought a house together. Meanwhile, Kala and Charlie’s family and friends knew that this was totally unlike the two and that these are not things that the couple would have ever posted.

Investigators Close In

Investigators Close In

Soon, police were lead to a property where someone had overheard banging coming from within a metal shipping container. Soon police descended on the large property in Wofford, South Carolina. At the same time, the authorities gathered at the home of the man who owned the property. It seemed as though there might soon be an answer for what had happened to Kala Brown and Charlie Carver. It was November 3rd, 2016 when authorities started making their way towards the door of a home. A man wearing a blue shirt greeted them outside of the house before they even made it to the door. The man’s name was Todd Kohlhepp.

Who Is Todd Kohlhepp?

Who Is Todd Kohlhepp?

The officers soon revealed to Todd that they were there on behalf of the missing couple, who had been well publicized in the area. Todd Kohlhepp had been, by all accounts, a troubled child. He often displayed cruelty to others and to animals as he was growing up, raised by his mother, stepfather, and biological father. By age 15 he had kidnapped a 14-year-old girl in Arizona. He had tied her up, raped her, and threatened her before releasing her. For this crime, he was convicted of kidnapping, sexual assault, and committing a dangerous crime against children. He was also forced to register as a sex offender. He served 14 years in prison and upon his released moved to South Carolina, where his mother was living at the time.

A Serial Offender Released

A Serial Offender Released

Todd Kohlhepp was released in August 2001, but some 15 years later he would be implicated in another heinous case. While in prison, Todd managed to go to school and he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. After his release, he worked for a time as a graphic designer but later went back to school and graduated with another bachelor degree in business administration. At that point, Kohlhepp was able to get his real estate license. Although he should have been prohibited as a sex offender with such a heinous crime in his history, he lied about his felony on the application. Also, the charge had happened in another state.

The Fateful Property

The Fateful Property

Todd was able to build his own successful firm with more than a dozen agents and was even known as a top selling agent in his area. In 2014, he purchased around 100 acres near Moore, South Carolina, which would be a fateful moment in his life and in the lives of many others as well. It was then that some people began to notice his bizarre, and sometimes even alarming, behavior. One person who worked with him on his real estate endeavors said that while he was very outgoing and professional. there were subtle hints that something was amiss about the man. For instance, he would often discuss his firearms or make strange sexual commentary.

Interactions With Todd

Interactions With Todd

Many people who interacted with him, primarily women, had a completely negative experience. Apparently, Todd was fond of a particular Waffle House restaurant in Roebuck. His behavior there was so strange and scary to the female waitresses, that a male cook actually began taking orders from him instead. One of the waitresses was named Meagan Leigh McCraw-Coxie. She later ended up as a missing person, just like Kala Brown. Another person who often worked with Todd, a banker, said they observed him regularly watching pornographic videos, even when he was at work. It certainly sounds like the man had every making of a predator.

The Torture Chamber

The Torture Chamber

While authorities descended upon Todd’s house, they were simultaneously searching his property and in particular a metal shipping container that had been reported as suspicious. The detectives saw a metal storage container, a small wooden building, and a concrete garage. The searched the garage first, which contained a tractor, an all-terrain vehicle, multiple guns, and what looked to be a cage. Detective Whitfield was on the scene and wrote “I also noticed what looked like a cage… This looked out of place because of its nature and capacity to hold something the size of a human.” Attached to the garage was an upstairs living quarter. Inside was a makeshift pallet and shackles hanging from the wall. There was also a bathroom. Inside the bathroom, the trash can had a pile of freshly cut human hair.

There’s Someone Inside

There’s Someone Inside

The discovery immediately set Whitfield on edge. He said seeing the hair “immediately made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.” Next, authorities attempted to open the green shipping container. It had been fortified with five padlocks. They tried bolt cutters but the lock was too strong, so they began hitting it with a sledgehammer. It was then that authorities heard a noise from inside the container. A kitten ran from under the door and authorities thought they were just hearing things so they resumed hitting the lock. It was then that banging came from inside the container.

Chained By The Neck

Chained By The Neck

The authorities were soon able to speak to the woman stuck inside. Detectives knew that it was likely they had found a missing woman. While before they had been working away thinking they might find some kind of evidence, the prospect of a living victim made police begin to work overtime with the sledgehammer attempting to get inside. Detective Whitfield recounted, “To this day, I don’t know how long it took to get inside. All I know is that it felt like it took 10 years.” Once they managed to open the container, they were greeted by a chilling sight. There was a woman chained by the neck like a dog. It was Kala Brown.

Tortured For Months

Tortured For Months

Kala was alive but she had been tortured. She had been held captive for over two months. The authorities used his bolt cutters to get the chain off of her neck. Detective Whitfield was extremely emotional about the ordeal and felt as though it was divinely inspired. He said, “The hand of God put us there,” he said. “It’s what I call a blessing and a curse. It was a tremendous blessing for Kala and for us.” Unfortunately, there was no sign of Charlie. Detectives soon discovered Charlie’s vehicle abandoned and purposely concealed in a ravine. Authorities could hardly believe that they found Kala alive.

Talking To Todd

Talking To Todd

Meanwhile, the other detectives were still with Todd Kohlhepp. Soon, the authorities placed Todd in handcuffs and alerted Todd that they had retrieved Kala. He replied, “Excuse me?” They pressed him to help them locate Charlie but he instead requested a lawyer. He also asked if someone could take care of his beloved dogs. Meanwhile, Kala was in the back of an ambulance recounting her horrifying ordeal. Investigators filmed her statements to be used against Todd in court. Kala also revealed that she had witnessed him murder her boyfriend, Charlie. In addition, he had apparently admitted to murdering more people at a motorcycle shop.

Charlie Carver’s Murder

Charlie Carver’s Murder

The day Kala Brown and Charlie Carver went missing, was the day he died. When he was found by authorities he was wearing an AC/DC 1982 North American Tour T-shirt that had three holes from being shot in the chest. It was after Charlie was killed that Kala was imprisoned. Unfortunately for the loving couple, certain individuals including Nichole Carver, Charlie’s estranged wife, had claimed that she had spoken to them and that they were alive. It’s possible that this situation led to a delay in authorities being able to uncover the truth about Todd Kohlhepp.

A Horrifying Confession

A Horrifying Confession

After authorities informed Todd Kohlhepp that they had recovered Kala, he seemed to be more willing to talk. They were also able to confirm that the remains found on the property were indeed those of Charlie Carver. While authorities were relieved to discover Kala alive and saddened to discover that Charlie was dead, they had no idea they were in for more surprises. Todd ultimately confessed to killing Charlie. Later, he spoke to his mother and she asked him if there were more bodies to be found. He replied, “More than you can count on two hands”. A detective later asked him why he had killed Charlie and he replied that he was mad at Kala. At first, Todd refused to answer questions about others gone missing, but he soon revealed other victims.

Johnny And Meagan Coxie

Johnny And Meagan Coxie

Todd Kohlhepp revealed that he killed Johnny and Meagan Coxie in December of 2015. Tad claimed he saw Meagan panhandling and offered her and her husband Johnny a job cleaning houses for his real estate business. According to Todd, while at the Woodruff property Johnny pulled a knife to rob him so he shot Johnny. It’s unknown if this is the truth or if it was really a situation like what transpired with Charlie and Kala. Todd kept Meagan detained for a while but said that she began to “act like a caged animal”. He kept her in the same metal shipping container in which he had detained Kala. He then said he shot her in the back of the head using the same gun with Johnny and Charlie. He also informed detectives of where the married couple was buried saying, “Johnny’s to the right; she’s to the left.”

The Superbike confession

The Superbike confession

On November 6, 2003, four employees of Superbike Motorsports in Chesnee, South Carolina were gunned down and killed, and the case had been left unsolved. Eventually, a detective brought up that Todd had previously owned a motorcycle. Todd said he had purchased a bike from Superbike Motorsports but was unable to ride it properly. When he tried to trade it in, the manager laughed at him. He then said he was the one who pulled a gun on the shop workers. A detective asked him to tell him something only the perpetrator would know of the case. Todd said he killed the Superbike victims with a Beretta 92FS and also revealed the kind of bullets he used. The victims of the Superbike case was owner Scott Ponder, who was 30 years old, and his mother Beverly Guy, 52, service manager Brian Lucas, 30, and mechanic Chris Sherbert, who was 26 years old.

Life In Prison

Life In Prison

Todd Kohlhepp was soon charged with four counts of murder for the Superbike case, one count of kidnapping for Kala Brown, and later three additional murder charges for Charlie Carver and Johnny and Meagan Coxie as well as another count of kidnapping and three counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. Todd Kohlhepp pled guilty to seven counts of murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of criminal sexual assault on May 26, 2017. He took a plea bargain and was spared the death penalty, instead, he received seven consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. He received one count for each person he admitted to killing: Charlie Carver, Johnny Coxie, Meagan Coxie, Scott Ponder, Beverly Guy, Brian Lucas and Chris Sherbert. Investigators have not yet revealed if they believe there to be more victims. For the time being, it must some comfort for the victims’ families to know that the man who killed their loved ones has been put away, although it will never bring them back again.