Though recent guilty pleas to 14 charges have given many across the Upstate some measure of closure and assured Todd Kohlhepp will die in prison, law-enforcement officials said Friday that they are not finished investigating the confessed serial killer.
Don Wood, a supervisory special agent at the FBI’s office in Columbia, confirmed to The Greenville News and Independent Mail that the FBI is actively investigating Kohlhepp, 46, a former real-estate agent and registered sex offender who’s confessed to killing Charles Carver, Johnny Coxie, Meagan Coxie, Chris Sherbert, Beverly Guy, Brian Lucas and Scott Ponder.
He was sentenced last month to the crimes that made national headlines
“I don’t want to delve into what we’re doing or what we’re looking for, but we still have an open investigation,” Wood said. “From my perspective it would be irresponsible to describe it in any more particular way. We just don’t disclose that.”
The ATF has had its own investigation into weapons that Kohlhepp has possessed, records show.
“I spoke with our guys in that area down there (in the Upstate), and with everything they’ve got right now, they’re not willing to comment about any ongoing investigation at this time,” said ATF spokesman Gerod King. “That may change at some point in the future, but right now they don’t want to make any comments.”
Evidence, records and interviews sought by The Greenville News and Independent Mail through Freedom of Information Act requests reveal that the FBI and the ATF have played ongoing roles in murder and kidnapping investigations related to Kohlhepp since his arrest Nov. 3, 2016.
An Upstate man whose identity could not be independently confirmed has been a leading subject of the ATF’s investigation, records show, after allegedly supplying Kohlhepp with weapons.
During the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office's investigations, Kohlhepp has repeatedly asked if federal authorities were involved, records show.
He’s confessed to seven murders, two charges of kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct.
He’s repeatedly bragged to acquaintances, fellow inmates and victims about the number of people he’s killed. He told kidnapping victim Kala Brown that the number was in the “high double-digits,” and he told his mother that she didn’t “have enough fingers” to count how many he’s killed, records show.
However when Kohlhepp pleaded guilty, his attorney Shane Goranson said, "There are no other victims. Mr. Kohlhepp has come clean."
Kohlhepp also told investigators that he shot a man in Arizona years ago but is unsure if that man died.
During interviews with investigators and calls to friends and family members while in jail, Kohlhepp has alluded cryptically to trips made to Juarez, Mexico.
In a report stemming from a Nov. 28 interview last year with Kohlhepp, investigator Tom Clark wrote that Kohlhepp “would make statements about long-range shooting and having a 1,000-yard and 1,400-yard chip. He would make comments about being part of a group that goes to Juarez and does the same things. He would start to talk and then would say things like that is a conversation for another day.”
“He said that before he would make further statements about Juarez he wanted to know if the feds were going to have involvement in the case,” investigator Mark Gaddy wrote in his report of the interview. “We told him we did not know.”
Brown said Kohlhepp has claimed to have “sold people to other countries,” she said to investigators in records recently made public. She said he’s also claimed to have killed people as a “paramilitary contractor” for the government, but she believed some of the claims to be false, made to scare her.
Brown was found chained inside a metal storage container Nov. 3, 2016, as cases against Kohlhepp broke. She’d been kept there alive for two months. One of his murder victims, Meagan Coxie, was kept alive in a container for days before he killed her, according to his confession to investigators.
On Dec. 14 the FBI provided Spartanburg County investigators with a timeline report on Kohlhepp, records show. It included documentation of training flights. Kohlhepp became a licensed private pilot in March of 2006.
On April 13 Spartanburg County investigators called the ATF to notify agents of an upcoming plea deal that would have Kohlhepp serving seven consecutive life sentences plus 60 years. An ATF agent said that may cause his agency to speed up its investigation, according to Spartanburg County investigators’ reports.
Wood said he could not provide information on how long the FBI’s investigation may last.
“It’s hard for us to say,” he said. “We collect until either we determine we’ll never have enough evidence or we’ve collected all we can and the U.S. Attorney’s office declines it or we collect and the U.S. Attorney’s office says they have enough and we charge. That’s the way it always works in any case.”