2 bodies found in South Carolina identified

Missing woman found chained by neck in metal container
Missing woman found chained by neck in metal container

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Story highlights

  • The coroner says he used tattoos to identify the two bodies
  • The wife and husband had been missing since December, authorities say

(CNN)More details have emerged in the investigation of Todd Kohlhepp, a South Carolina man who police say may be responsible for seven killings, including a quadruple homicide.

On Wednesday, two bodies unearthed on property Kohlhepp owned near Woodruff were identified as Johnny Joe Coxie, 29, and his wife, Meagan Leigh McCraw Coxie, 25, Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said.
    Clevenger said it appeared Meagan Coxie was shot in the head and Johnny Coxie was shot in the torso. The Spartanburg residents were identified through extensive tattoos that matched photos of them, he said.
    Todd Kohlhepp
    The Coxies were reported missing in December by Meagan Coxie's mother, who said her daughter had just gotten a new job, said Lt. Kevin Bobo, Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office spokesman.
    The couple, who had a child together, had just gotten out of jail, Bobo said. They were known for panhandling beside Interstate 26, he said.
    Bobo would not comment on how Kohlhepp knew the Coxies. He said their child was safe but didn't offer details.
    Kohlhepp, 45, of Spartanburg is a registered sex offender who served time in prison for kidnapping and is a real estate agent in the area.
    The sheriff's department first went to Kohlhepp's property on November 3 to search for Kala Brown, 30, who'd been missing since August with her boyfriend.
    Investigators found her chained by the ankle and neck and screaming for help inside a shipping container.
    Authorities said Brown and Kohlhepp knew each other and that a social media post indicated she was to meet him at the farm on the day she and her boyfriend disappeared. The last ping from her cell phone came from Kohlhepp's property, authorities said.
    Charles Carver and Kala Brown
    Kohlhepp didn't cooperate at first, but on November 5 he went back to the property with investigators and led them to the bodies of Brown's boyfriend, Charles Carver, 32, and the Coxies, Bobo said.
    Bobo said Kohlhepp cooperated after he was allowed to see his mother and deliver a photo to her and to transfer money to a bank account of a friend's child.
    Kohlhepp also confessed to a 2003 quadruple homicide at a motorcycle shop in Chesnee, about 15 miles north of Spartanburg, according to authorities.
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    Business owner Scott Ponder; his mother, Beverly Guy; service manager Brian Lucas; and employee Chris Sherbert were found fatally shot inside the shop 13 years ago, CNN affiliate WYFF-TV in Greenville reported.
    Kohlhepp told detectives details that only the killer would have known about the homicides at Superbike Motorsports, authorities said.
    He's been charged with four counts of murder in those killings. Kohlhepp has not been charged in the Coxies' deaths but will be, Bobo said.
    He has been charged with kidnapping in the abduction of Brown, who has been released from a hospital.
    Bobo said investigators don't think any more bodies will be found on the property.
    "We feel at this time we've done a thorough search," he said. "As far as anybody processing acreage, that part is over."
    Kohlhepp, who spent 15 years behind bars in a 1987 kidnapping in Arizona, did not enter a plea at a hearing Friday. He appeared without an attorney.
    Kohlhepp owns the Woodruff property, which he bought in May 2014 for $305,000. He lives in Spartanburg, not on the Woodruff property where the bodies were found.