Kala was rescued – but others lost their lives...

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As South Carolina police officers tried to unlock the shipping container, they heard something move inside.

Then came muffled screams and cries for help.

When they finally broke the lock and opened it, they couldn’t believe their eyes.

A woman was chained up by her ankle and neck.

Kala Brown, 30, had been missing for two months. Now she’d been found caged and chained up like a dog.

When police asked who’d done this to her, she gave them a name…

Todd Kohlhepp.

He owned the land where the container was situated.

Kala told how Kohlhepp had shot dead her boyfriend Charles Carver, 32.

Days on, investigators dug the body of Charles from a shallow grave.

Shortly after, another body was found, then another…

So who was Todd Kohlhepp? And why had he murdered several people and held Kala captive?

Todd was born in Florida, in 1971, and his parents split up when he was young.

He was reportedly aggressive towards other children, and he allegedly shot a dog with a BB gun, and killed a goldfish with bleach.

Todd had counselling – then, in 1983, went to live with his father in Arizona.

It was there that he developed an obsession with guns.

His first run-in with the law came in 1986.

Kohlhepp, then 15, kidnapped a 14-year-old girl. He threatened her with a gun and led her back to his house. He then tied her up and taped her mouth shut.

Afterwards, he walked her home as though he’d done nothing wrong.

He was charged with kidnapping, sexual assault and committing a dangerous crime against a child.

In 1987, Kohlhepp pleaded guilty to kidnapping, and the other charges were dropped.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and registered as a sex offender.

In 2001, Kohlhepp was released and moved to South Carolina, where his mother was.

During his imprisonment, he’d gained a degree in Computer Science.

It helped him get a job as a graphic designer, and he started studying at college again for another degree.

It looked like Kohlhepp had reformed and was making something of his life.

Despite being a registered sex offender, in 2006 he was able to get a real-estate licence.

It enabled him to build a business and employ agents.

But there was something about him that people still found strange.

In 2009, residents wrote to the state’s licensing board to call for Kohlhepp to be put out of work as a real-estate agent.

They’d found his Facebook page full of inappropriate content, including posts about guns, sex and revenge.

Kohlhepp began frequenting a waffle restaurant, and reportedly had a habit of inviting waitresses back to his place.

He gave them the creeps, refused to serve him.

In May 2014, Kohlhepp bought a 95-acre plot of land in Spartanburg County, spent a fortune fencing it off.

And, in August 2016, he invited Kala Brown and Charles Carver to the site.

Kohlhepp had previously paid Kala to do cleaning at some of his properties.

Kala (Photo: REX/Shutterstock)

He lured the couple to his farm with the promise of work, then led them to a two-storey garage and told them to wait outside.

He returned with a gun and began firing at Charles.

Kala could only watch helplessly as her boyfriend was killed.

Kohlhepp then tied up Kala, gagged her, and led her to a dark, metal storage container.

The killer held her prisoner for just over two months, only letting her out twice a day to bathe with a small bucket of water.

It seemed Kohlhepp was infatuated with Kala.

Deluded, he spoke about building them a home, and how they could be happy.

At the beginning of November, Kala heard police officers talking outside the container.

Charles (Photo: REX/Shutterstock)

They were investigating after tracing her and Charles’ mobile phone signals.

Her ordeal was finally over…

Kohlhepp was soon arrested, and led investigators to the site where Charles was buried.

He also led them to two other bodies – Johnny Coxie, 29, and his wife Meagan McCraw-Coxie, 25.

The couple had been missing since December 2015.

It emerged Meagan had been a waitress at Kohlhepp’s favourite waffle house. She and her husband had reportedly been hired by Kohlhepp to work on his property.

But the killer had shot Johnny, then shot his wife a week later.

They weren’t the only ones.

Kohlhepp soon confessed to the unsolved murder of four people at a motorcycle shop back in 2003.

He admitted gunning down the shop owner Scott Ponder, his mother Beverly Guy, service manager Brian Lucas, and mechanic Chris Sherbert.

This May, Todd Kohlhepp, 46, pleaded guilty to the murders and was sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences without parole.

But a lifetime behind bars will never undo his unthinkable crimes.