Friends and family members of a missing Anderson County woman were emotional Thursday after investigators with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office found her alive.
The 30-year-old woman had been locked in a metal container with a chain around her neck, said Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright. She was being held on a 95-acre piece of property in Woodruff owned by Todd Kohlhepp, 45, a real estate agent who remains in custody in the case. (The State does not identify alleged victims of sexual assaul.)
Her boyfriend, Charlie David Carver, who disappeared at the same time, remains missing.
“I’m still in shock. It hasn’t sunk in even though I’ve seen her and given her a hug,” said Dan Herren, a longtime friend of the rescued woman. “We’re also very mindful (that Carver hasn’t been found) and our prayers and hearts are out to Charlie and his family. None of this is over yet until he’s found.”
Herren is among the many people who have spent the past two months searching for the missing woman and Carver and trying to stay hopeful.
Family members and friends had posted fliers, created a Facebook page and started an online fundraiser through gofundme.com, hoping their efforts would lead to her and Carver’s safe return.
The past two months have been a roller coaster of emotions, Herren said, during which he began to fear the two wouldn't be found alive.
Herren said the woman uses her cellphone every day and is active on social media, so when she “went silent” at the end of August, it was really frightening and eerie, he said. Carver isn’t as active on social media, Herren added, but he talked to his mom every day, so when the calls suddenly stopped, friends and family became alarmed.
At a press conference Thursday evening, Wright said investigators found a car on the Woodruff property that matched the description of the car the two were last seen in, but Carver has not been located.
Wright said investigators have had some success in finding evidence, but declined to elaborate on what had been found.
Kohlhepp isn’t cooperating with investigators, Wright said.
Wright said he had prayed with the woman before she got into the ambulance, and that she was “in good spirits” considering everything she’d been through.
Herren said when he saw her at the hospital, he gave her a “huge hug.” Fighting back tears, Herren said he couldn't imagine the torment she has been through the past two months. He said her spirits and attitude are great, under the circumstances.
“She’s up and doing amazingly well considering the hell she’s been through in the past two months,” Herren said. “But there’s a whole lot of healing to be done.”