Woman Ends Serial Killer’s 13-Year Reign of Terror

Kala Brown survived two months of captivity inside a shipping container, others weren’t so lucky.

Fatim Hemraj
Jan 26 · 8 min read
All of Todd Kohlhepp’s victims. Kala Brown, top left, was the only one to survive. Source.

ala Brown and Charles David Carver had only been dating for a few months when they decided to move in together. They were happy, in love and excited for their future together, but they were having a difficult time making ends meet. In order to make some extra money, Kala began cleaning houses for a man named Todd Kohlhepp. Kala had 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 do some work on his 95-acre property in rural South Carolina. What the young couple didn’t know at the time was that Todd was a monster waiting to take them into unimaginable horrors.

On August 31, 2016, Kala and Charles arrived to begin 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 then used to fire three shots, straight into Charles’ chest.

Todd later told 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 torture 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.

Charles Carver. Source.

After the shooting, Todd grabbed Kala, who was in so much shock she could barely utter a word, handcuffed and forced her into a metal shipping container — it was either in there or dead next to Charles, he said. Todd chained Kala’s neck, feet, and hands, leaving her completely bound. 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 fulfill his needs. Afterwards, 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 with, every other day.

In a twisted form of irony, the only items available within Kala’s reach in the pitch-black storage container were crime novels strewn about by Todd.

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 bizarre Facebook messages from his account asking for money for drugs. The friend thought it was bizarre because she had never known Charles to be a user of drugs. Additionally, Charles’ Facebook page was regularly updated with ‘milestone’ posts saying he and Kala were expecting, that they had bought a house and even that they had gotten married.

Text messages from ‘Charles’ (Todd) to his friend. Source.

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 the two 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.

Banging noises were heard coming from a shipping container. The metal lock was cut off and inside was Kala, dishevelled, chained up, and terrified.

Kala Brown being rescued. Source.

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’s hope was that she would form Stockholm Syndrome and that the two would be “happy together.” Stockholm Syndrome is a psychological coping mechanism displayed by abused victims or hostages where they begin to bond with their captors. Some might even feel they have fallen in ‘love’ with their captor, and many will also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, and several other mental ailments.

According to Kala, Todd was going to 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, investigators found a pre-dug hole next to where Charles was buried and believed Todd was only days, if not hours, away from killing her.

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, gagged and raped her at gunpoint. Afterwards, 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 pled guilty to 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. Their bodies were found by a close friend.

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.

Beverly & Scott top, Chris & Brown bottom. Source.
Johnny and Meagan Coxie. Source.

Todd also confessed 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 couples’ 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 in an effort 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 going forward.

Todd Kohlhepp. Source.

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.

Kala Brown in court. Source.

As for Kala, a woman who is easily one of the strongest and most courageous 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’ll never let Todd ruin her life.

Sources: Wikipedia, Independent Mail, Rolling Stone, Revzilla, CBS News, Heavy, WYFF4


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Fatim Hemraj

Written by

I cover true crime ◦ subscribe to my free monthly newsletter at www.fatimhemraj.com 🧟‍♀️



A true crime publication, giving voices to those who no longer have theirs.

Fatim Hemraj

Written by

I cover true crime ◦ subscribe to my free monthly newsletter at www.fatimhemraj.com 🧟‍♀️



A true crime publication, giving voices to those who no longer have theirs.

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