The Disturbing Teen Years of the SC Kidnapping Suspect

Former neighbor says Todd Kohlhepp was a 'devil on a chain'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2016 3:45 PM CDT
The Disturbing Teen Years of the SC Kidnapping Suspect
Todd Kohlhepp is escorted into a Spartanburg County magistrate courtroom, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, in Spartanburg, S.C.   (Tim Kimzey/The Spartanburg Herald-Journal via AP)

(Newser) – A 45-year-old man charged with keeping a missing woman chained up like a dog on his South Carolina property was described as a "devil on a chain" by a neighbor decades ago, Greeneville Online reports. In 1986, Todd Kohlhepp—15 at the time—forced a 14-year-old girl back to his house at gunpoint, tied her up, and raped her. He told authorities he didn't know why he did it; maybe he was rebelling because his dad was out of town. Kohlhepp's mom made excuses for him, pointing out that he walked the girl home afterward. "Does that sound like a dangerous criminal?" she asked. Kohlhepp was sentenced to 15 years in prison after being allowed to plead down to a kidnapping charge. A probation officer called it a "travesty of justice."

story continues below

Kohlhepp's rape of a teen girl wasn't an isolated incident. Documents show an "emotionally disturbed" teen with "explosive anger issues." He threatened to kill his mom, dumped bleach into a goldfish bowl when he didn't get a gerbil, shot a dog with a BB gun, and locked a neighbor boy in a dog cage. His father said the only emotion Kohlhepp could show was anger, and he spent time in a mental health facility. Kohlhepp was charged with kidnapping this week after 30-year-old Kala Brown was found in a storage container on his property, the AP reports. A body was found buried on his property Friday, and police are looking for more. Brown, who was hired to clean Kohlhepp's property, says she saw him shoot and kill her boyfriend. (Read more missing person stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.