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Widow of 2003 victim: Woman held captive by alleged serial killer is "the real hero"

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — The widow of a man who was among the victims in a 2003 quadruple murder says a kidnapping victim should get the reward money in the case, for helping police solve the killings, reports The Herald-Journal newspaper.

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Todd Kohlhepp enters the courtroom of Judge Jimmy Henson for a bond hearing at the Spartanburg Detention Facility, in Spartanburg, S.C. Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016. AP Photo/Richard Shiro

30-year-old Kala Brown was “chained up like a dog”for weeks in a dark storage container on a rural South Carolina property, according to a family friend, before police rescued her and arrested Todd Kohlhepp, who police say admitting to killing Brown’s boyfriend and six others. Four of those were victims in a more than decade-old infamous case known locally as the “Superbike murders.” 

Police spent years tracking down leads, releasing sketches and reminding the public about the case, but it remained cold until Brown’s rescue, which is why victim Scott Ponder’s wife says Brown should be given the $25,000 reward that has long been offered in the case.

“Kala is the real hero here,” said Melissa Ponder during a phone interview Monday with The Herald Journal. “She’s the one that endured the two months of hell and stayed vigilant and alive, and it’s because of that we even get to talk about any of this.”

Brown was rescued on Nov. 3. She and her boyfriend, Charlie Carver, 32, had been reported missing from Anderson, South Carolina in August. Police raided the nearly 100-acre Woodruff property Kohlhepp owns Thursday following up on a lead in their missing case.

Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office investigators say Brown told them Kohlhepp shot and killed Carver. His remains were found and positively identified on Friday. Investigators say Kohlhepp led them to the remains of two other people on the lot, but those victims remain unidentified.

The sheriff’s office says Kohlhepp admitted to the Nov. 6, 2003 quadruple murder at the Superbike Motorsports motorcycle shop in Chesnee, South Carolina soon after his arrest.

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Victims of the 2003 “Superbike” murders in Chesnee, S.C. WSPA

“I’m rejoicing that this community can know that four people who were brutally murdered, there’s no wondering about it anymore,” Sheriff Chuck Wright said late Saturday night.

Before Kohlhepp emerged as a suspect, investigators had said all four victims were killed with the same pistol. They have theorized that the killer came in the back and killed mechanic Chris Sherbert, 26, as he worked. Bookkeeper Beverly Guy, 52, was found just outside the bathroom in the middle of the showroom.

Thirty-year-old shop owner Scott Ponder was found just outside the door in the parking lot. He was Guy’s son. Brian Lucas was in the doorway of the shop.

Melissa Ponder said detectives told her Kohlhepp was an angry customer who had been in the motorcycle shop several times.

“It isn’t closure, but it is an answer,” Ponder told the Associated Press. “And I am thankful for that.” 

The sheriff’s office says Kohlhepp knows information about the crime that has never been released to the public.

Kohlhepp has been charged with kidnapping and four counts of murder.

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