The man charged with abducting an Anderson woman and keeping her chained in a metal storage shed on his property has implicated himself in a 13-year-old unsolved murder of four at a Chesnee motorcycle shop, and is now suspected in the deaths of as many as seven people, the sheriff announced late Saturday night.
Sheriff Chuck Wright said warrants have been drawn up charging Todd Christopher Kohlhepp, 45, with the murder of four people at Superbike Motorsports in Chesnee, a previously unsolved quadruple slaying that occurred exactly 13 years ago Sunday.
Kohlhepp was charged Friday with kidnapping a 30-year-old Anderson woman and keeping her for two months chained inside a shed on his 95-acre property on Wofford Road near Woodruff.
Kohlhepp, who was seen walking the property with investigators Saturday afternoon, has led authorities to where he said two other bodies are buried, according to the sheriff. Wright did not identify those individuals, nor, he said, have investigators unearthed those remains.
"Mr. Todd talked to me today, and I prayed with him," Wright said. "I prayed that he would find God."
Asked how authorities were certain that Kohlhepp was responsible for the previously unsolved killings at the motorcycle shop, Wright said, "He told us some stuff that nobody else ought to know."
On Nov. 6, 2003, someone entered Superbike Motorsports and shot and killed business owner Scott Ponder, his mother, Beverly Guy, service manager Brian Lucas and mechanic Chris Sherbert. The case has never been solved.
Those killings occurred about two years after Kohlhepp was released from prison in August 2001 after serving a 15-year sentence for the 1986 rape of a 14-year-old girl in Arizona when he was 15. After being released from prison, Kohlhepp moved to South Carolina, got a pilot's license, earned a degree at the University of South Carolina Upstate and began pursuing a real estate career.
Earlier Saturday, Wright identified a body found Friday in a shallow grave on the property as that of Charles David Carver, 32.
Carver, the rescued woman’s boyfriend, died of multiple gunshot wounds to the upper extremities, said Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger, who ruled the death a homicide.
Wright said Kohlhepp has not yet been charged with Carver's death.
We certainly wanted a different outcome than this," Wright said. He declined to go into detail about the ongoing investigation.
Earlier in the day Saturday, Carver's mother told the Anderson Independent Mail that she was refusing to give up hope that she would one day see her son alive.
“Until I see a body, I can’t give up,” said Joanne Shiflet, mother of the 32-year-old Carver. “For this to be over, I have to see him.”
In an exclusive interview with the Independent-Mail, Shiflet said she has experienced a range of emotions since learning on Friday that Kohlhepp allegedly shot her son.
The rescued woman has told investigators that she saw Kohlhepp shoot Carver, according to 7th Circuit Solicitor Barry Barnette.
Wright had previously said human remains were found on the property and that investigators fear they are dealing with the work of a serial killer.
Law enforcement would soon take shifts searching the property one portion at a time, Wright added.
"This is one of the biggest crime scenes I've been involved in," he said.
A little after 12 p.m. Saturday, Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright gave a brief update on the search for more information and David Carver's brother Nathan Shiflet briefly spoke.
He said they were dedicated to finding any evidence on the property "no matter how long it takes."
“Right now, I am just angry,” said Shiflet, who lives in Starr.
Carver and his girlfriend were reported missing in early September by friends and family in Anderson. Kohlhepp is being held without bond at the Spartanburg County Detention Center.
Shiflet said she was in court for Kohlhepp's arraignment on Friday when she learned that the woman had told authorities she saw Kohlhepp shoot Carver.
“It was like a slap in the face,” Shiflet said.
According to Shiflet, the young couple drove from Anderson to Kohlhepp's land near Woodruff to talk to him about clearing some property for him.
“It ended up being a trap,” she said.
Shiflet said she learned during Friday’s hearing that the woman knocked on the door of a two-story garage after she and Carver arrived at the property. According to Shiflet, the woman said Carver was shot immediately after the door opened.
Carver’s car was found on the property Thursday.
Shiflet said she and her husband and their adult children have spent much of their time at the property near Woodruff since Thursday. She said the wait for answers has been agonizing.
“It is kind of like the feeling of being seasick,” Shiflet said.
She described her son as a cheerful man who enjoyed helping others. "David loved laughter. He loved making people laugh,” Shiflet said. “He was always smiling.”
Shiflet said her son got married about three years ago. She said he and his wife separated in late May or early June.
Carver met the Anderson woman while working with her mother at a warehouse in Greenville, Shiflet said. They were friends at first, she said, before the woman moved into his apartment this summer.
Shiflet said she was introduced to her about a week before she and her son went missing in late August.
“She came up and gave me the biggest hug,” Shiflet said. “She told me that she wanted me to know everything about her.”
Shiflet said she knew that the two were in love.
“You could feel it,” she said. “This was the first happiness that he had known for a long time.”
Investigators returned to the scene before sunrise Saturday to resume their search of property in Spartanburg County. As law enforcement continued to work through the morning, several local residents set up a table with snacks and water for police, media and volunteers at the property on Wofford Road near Woodruff.
Among the onlookers in Woodruff was Scott Waldrop, who said his family has lived on Wofford Road for about 22 years, and who said he struck up an acquaintance with the Kohlhepp a couple of years ago shortly after Kohlhepp purchased the 95-acre property.
He said Kohlhepp liked to talk a lot, and they hit it off the first time. He said Kohlhepp liked to show off his guns. Though he was not a hunter, he was a "great marksman," Waldrop said.
Waldrop said he helped plant trees in front of the fence lining the property and assisted posting no trespassing signs.
They last communicated through text messages last week, he said. Kohlhepp had sent Waldrop a message that said, "Remind me later to tell you about my little altercation with some hunters two weeks ago. The ran off my land in middle of dark (sic)."
Waldrop said that when he heard about the woman being discovered alive nearby he thought she had been found in a container on a four-acre piece of property the two had seen near Kohlhepp's property. He texted Kohlhepp Thursday asking him to call him as soon as possible, not knowing that Kohlhepp had been taken into custody in connection with her kidnapping.
Waldrop said he was shocked to learn the woman was found on Kohlhepp's land. "It's a bad travesty," he said.