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Missing South Carolina woman found alive in container, "chained like a dog"

Woman found caged in S.C. woods
Woman found caged in S.C. woods 02:44

WOODRUFF, S.C. -- A South Carolina woman who vanished more than two months ago was found alive Thursday morning inside a padlocked 30’ by 15’ metal container on a rural property, “chained like a dog,” a sheriff said.

Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright says deputies heard the 30-year-old woman banging on the walls of the container as they served a search warrant at the nearly 100-acre Woodruff property related to the search for her and her boyfriend, Charlie Carver.

Charlie Carver WSPA

The woman told investigators she had been held there against her will for two months. Carver, 32, remains missing.

“It was pretty emotional, to say the least,” Wright told reporters. “When she was found, she was chained like a dog – she had a chain around her neck. It’s only by God’s grace we found that little girl alive.”

Wright says registered sex offender Todd Kohlhepp, 45, was arrested at his home in Moore Thursday morning in connection to the case. He was charged with kidnapping. More charges are possible, Wright said. 

CBS affiliate WSPA reports he is listed as the owner of the Woodruff property.

The woman also told investigators there may be four bodies on the property, but Wright says investigators aren’t sure whether that’s true.

“We’re trying to make sure we don’t have a serial killer on our hands,” Wright said. “It very possibly could be what we have.”

The woman said she had been fed during her time in captivity, Wright said. She’s being treated at a medical center and was in good condition.

Wright said investigative leads led them to the property. He wouldn’t discuss whether the woman told them any details about Carver’s whereabouts.

The woman and her boyfriend were last heard from in late August, WSPA reports. The missing case gained national attention after suspicious posts appeared on Carver’s Facebook page that his family suspected were posted by someone else. The page was later taken down.

On Thursday, Wright said “it’s super possible [Kohlhepp] was doing that to try and get people off his trail, but that’s just a thought, I don’t know that for sure.”

The national sex offender registry lists a kidnapping count for Kohlhepp in Arizona in 1987. Spartanburg County Jail records don’t list a charge. A lawyer for Kohlhepp couldn’t immediately be located.

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