By Dan Whitcomb
(Reuters) - A South Carolina woman reported missing in August along with her live-in boyfriend was found on Thursday, "chained up like a dog" in a storage container, and a registered sex offender was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, the county sheriff said.
Kala Brown, 30, was discovered after police searching a large property in Spartanburg County, northeast of Greenville, heard banging noises from inside the 15-foot by 30-foot container, Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright told a news conference.
Wright said deputies arrested Todd Kohlhepp, 45, who they found on the property when they arrived to serve a search warrant. Investigators went to the property to follow up on a lead related to the disappearance of Brown and her boyfriend, Charlie Carver, he said.
Wright said Brown and Kohlhepp knew each other, saying that her abduction was "not a random act."
Brown told police that she had been held captive for two months in the padlocked storage box and that there might be up to four dead bodies on the property, Wright said.
"I want to thank God for allowing us to find a missing person from Anderson city who was in a container chained up like a dog," Wright said. "We found her alive and she's being treated at a medical facility right now. It's tragic that this person was being treated like that."
Anderson, where Brown and Carver vanished from, is located about 60 miles southeast of Spartanburg County.
The sheriff said Carver, 32, remains missing. "We're praying for the best outcome," Wright said.
The sheriff said Kohlhepp, a registered sex offender, would face kidnapping and other charges.
Wright said investigators were pursuing further leads based on an interview with Brown, who was "obviously traumatized" and being treated at a local medical facility.
A search was still being conducted on the property on Thursday evening.
"We're trying to make sure we don't have a serial killer on our hands," Wright said. It "very possibly could be what we have."
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Dan Grebler and Leslie Adler)