“Twenty-five months of the most intensive and expensive professional intervention, short of God’s, will provide no protection for the public and no rehabilitation of this juvenile by any services or facilities presently available to the Juvenile Court.”
That's how Arizona judge Rose Kimball described Todd Kohlhepp as a teenager in 1986 upon his transfer from a juvenile detention facility to face charges of kidnapping and sexual assault as an adult.
Now 45, Kohlhepp, who lives in Moore and owns a 96-acre property in Woodruff, has again been charged with kidnapping, this time by Spartanburg County Sheriff's deputies.
The 30-year-old woman was found Thursday chained in a storage container on the property. She and her boyfriend, Charlie David Carver, were reported missing in late August. (The State does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.)
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Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright and Coroner Rusty Clevenger confirmed Friday afternoon that one body had been found on the property.
Kohlhepp's first encounter with law enforcement also involved a kidnapping charge.
When he applied for a real estate license in South Carolina in 2006, he explained this kidnapping charge in a letter to the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation , the (Anderson) Independent Mail reported Friday.
A Tempe Police Department report from the 1986 incident, included in 199 pages of court documents obtained by the Herald-Journal, states that when Kohlhepp was 15 years old, he was accused of pointing a gun at a 14-year-old girl, forcing her to walk to his home, tying her hands and sexually assaulting her.
Kohlhepp pleaded guilty to the kidnapping charge in exchange for the sexual assault charge being dropped. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and had to register as a sex offender.
Court documents show Kohlhepp had a history of emotional troubles and disruptive and violent behavior even before the incident.
“At less than the age of 9, this juvenile was impulsive, explosive and preoccupied with sexual content. He has not changed. He has been unabatedly aggressive to others and destructive of property since nursery school,” Kimball said in a statement included in court records.
A 1987 psychiatric exam showed Kohlhepp wasn’t psychotic, but had severe underlying emotional issues which “could result in emotional deterioration in the future or continued aggressive behavior towards others in the future.”
“He demonstrates episodes of ignoring or distortion of reality and regular use of projection defense mechanisms and the presence of degrees of an impaired sense of reality," Dr. Roger Martig said in the evaluation, adding that Kohlhepp had “excessively strange impulses and feelings” and has a “limited capacity to tolerate unpleasant affects.”
In his report, Martig cited an evaluation performed on Kohlhepp during his time at the Georgia Mental Health Institute.
Incidents were also cited where Kohlhepp destroyed his bedroom with a hammer, broke other children's things and hit them, put a goldfish in bleach because he wanted a gerbil instead, and shot a dog with a BB gun.
Records show a neighbor told Kohlhepp’s probation officer that on one occasion, Kohlhepp locked her son inside a dog kennel and rolled it over while laughing as the boy cried and begged him to stop.
One of the Arizona officials who compiled court records concluded, “this writer viewed the defendant (Kohlhepp) as an extremely cold and somewhat callous young man, who has no comprehension whatsoever of the devastating effects of his own violent and aggressive behavior.”
While court and law enforcement officials believed Kohlhepp was incapable of feeling the impacts of his behavior, the family of the girl he pleaded guilty to kidnapping was consumed by them.
In a letter dated Jan. 9, 1987, the girl’s parents wrote to Kimball about how terrified their entire family was of Kohlhepp. “We live in great fear of him,” the letter read. “We hope that you will do all you can to protect our family as well as the rest of the community from any further actions on his part.”
Several months after that, on Aug. 6, 1987, Kohlhepp’s mother, Regina, wrote to her son’s adult probation officer.
“I realize that he has done wrong and my heart aches for the little girl. But it also aches for my son. He was only 15 years old. He didn’t have any record of any kind and had never been in trouble before,” she said in the letter. “Todd knows he did wrong and he’s sorry, but they won’t even give him a chance to make a good life out of this. Everyone, everyone, deserves a second chance.”
Regina wrote that her son’s 15-year prison sentence was unjust, given his age. She said she never knew Kohlhepp was capable of inflicting violence on another person.
She pleaded with court officials to find alternate treatments for her son instead of putting him in prison for a decade and a half.
“He won’t be rehabilitated in prison,” she told the probation officer. “He will be ruined.”
Follow Zach Fox on Twitter @ZachFoxSHJ