Video shows Kala Brown’s rescue from shipping container | CNN (2024)


As deputies try to cut the chain that goes around her neck, Kala Brown tells them what happened to her boyfriend more than two months ago, before a real estate agent she did some work for took her prisoner and kept her locked up in a shipping container.

Do you know where your buddy is, someone asks.

“Charlie? He shot him,” she replies, her voice quiet and shaky.

“Who did?” she’s asked.

“Todd Kohlhepp shot Charlie Carver three times in the chest, wrapped him in a blue tarp, put him in the bucket of a tractor, locked me down here, and I never seen him again. He said he’s dead and buried,” Brown says on the video of her rescue from inside the metal bin.

Video shows Kala Brown’s rescue from shipping container | CNN (1)

Kidnapping victim Kala Brown was chained and kept in a makeshift bedroom in a shipping container.

Kohlhepp is in a South Carolina prison now, serving life sentences for seven murders. He also pleaded guilty to kidnapping and sexual assault. One of the slayings Kohlhepp admitted to was Carver’s, on a late August day on the killer’s 95-acre farm near Woodruff.

CNN does not normally identify sexual assault victims, but Brown has spoken to the media about her ordeal. She told “Dr. Phil” earlier this year that she was raped.

Video of her November rescue, obtained by media outlets including CNN, shows the moments after deputies open the green shipping container, as they find Brown, then 30.

She’s shackled on one ankle and has a chain around her neck. She’s wearing glasses and dressed in a black top, gray pants and sandals.

She is in the back of the container, beyond shelves full of boxes and plastic totes.

The men suddenly surrounding her seek to reassure her.

She’s not bound by her hands but they are in the air as the police approach.

“How are you, honey?” one says.

“We’re going to get you out of there,” says another.

“You’re OK, we’re here,” another says.

We see the woman lying on a makeshift bed, a searchlight shining on her.

Video shows Kala Brown’s rescue from shipping container | CNN (2)

Kala Brown had a bucket (with air freshener on top) for a toilet.

A man asks her whether she is chained by both feet.

She tells him just the one.

“And my neck’s attached to a wall up here,” she says.

There are buckets by her, one for trash, one with an air freshener on it.

A three-drawer white storage bin has three books on it, one titled “Private Eyes.”

On the floor are scattered empty water bottles, a jar of Jif peanut butter, a dirty sock and a cardboard tube from a roll of toilet paper.

She stands as she is freed and tells the deputies Kohlhepp has told her he used red pepper around where he buried Carver and other bodies to throw off scent-sniffing dogs.

Ride to hospital

Another video shows Brown in an ambulance as a detective from Spartanburg County interviews her about what happened.

Brown tells him what she told “Dr. Phil.” She cleaned houses for Kohlhepp’s real estate listings, so she had no reason to fear him when she and Carver went to his farm to help him clear some underbrush.

When they arrived on August 31, Kohlhepp met them and went into a garage, ostensibly to retrieve something, Brown says.

As she and Carver waited, Kohlhepp emerged from the garage and shot Carver three times in the chest, she says.

He took her inside and handcuffed her, saying he was sorry he had to shoot Carver.

“He didn’t know whether he was going to kill me or sell me,” Brown says on the police video.

Video shows Kala Brown’s rescue from shipping container | CNN (3)

She was given books to read.

Kohlhepp would keep her in the shipping container until he came back to the property each day to feed her and to do “whatever he wanted sexually,” she says.

Brown appears stoic on the video until the detective asks her what day she was taken and she begins to cry. After the questioning is done, she weeps, saying Kohlhepp shot her boyfriend because of her.

He bragged to her about his body count, she says, claiming to have killed almost 100 people.

“He liked to brag that he was a serial killer and a mass murderer,” she says.

Kohlhepp had a different story for police, admitting to three killings tied to his farm and four at a motorcycle shop in Chesnee in 2003.

Finding Brown

The case came together in November when authorities searching for Brown and her 32-year-old boyfriend went to the property based on her cellphone records.

Investigators went to look inside the locked shipping container and heard her screaming for help.

Kohlhepp was arrested at his home in the Spartanburg area.

Police found Carver’s body at the farm, as well as those of Johnny Joe Coxie, 29, and his wife, Meagan Leigh McCraw Coxie, 25.

This week prosecutors also released recordings of several interviews with Kohlhepp, photos from the shipping container and documents from the case.

Video shows Kala Brown’s rescue from shipping container | CNN (2024)
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