This week CNN reported a South Carolina woman has filed a civil suit against the man who held her captive in a metal container for two months. Kala Brown was taken prisoner by Todd Kohlhepp on August 31st of last year when her and her boyfriend, Charles Carver, went to do some work on Kohlhepp’s farm.
Kohlhepp was a well known real estate agent in the Spartanburg, SC area, but had somehow kept the sex offender status he acquired as a teen quiet. Brown had worked on some of Kohlhepp’s real estate properties so she had no reason to suspect anything ill when he asked her to come do some work on his 95-acre farm.
When Brown and Carver arrived at the farm, Kohlhepp shot and killed Carver then locked Kohlhepp in the metal container where she’d spend the next two months bound and in the dark. The couple were reported missing when someone realized they’d left their apartment with none of their belongings and no food or water for their dog.
Police aren’t discussing details of the case currently with the Sheriff’s spokesman saying, “We will not do anything that could potentially jeopardize a successful prosecution.” Despite their silence it is known that police determined where Brown was after identifying Kohlhepp’s phone as the last place her phone sent a signal from.
Despite two months in captivity, Brown said on the Dr. Phil show that she never contemplated suicide and refused to be broken.”I just had to keep telling myself ‘she’s OK. We’re going to find her,’ ” she said.
Cases this extreme are rare, but they do happen. While there are dedicated police units for finding and recovering missing children, most departments don’t commit the same resources to adults. Private investigators like Lauth Investigations International can help make up for the lack of resources and reunite you with your loved ones sooner. With that in mind, here are a few cases of missing persons and how each case played out.
Janine Johler was 38-years-old and living in Aurora, CO when she went missing in May 2009. One month later on June 12, Johler’s dismembered body was found by a ranch hand as he picked up trash. Even with the assistance of Johler’s mother, Sue Kleppen, and help from friends posting missing person’s poster around town, police were unable to figure out who had committed this atrocious act.
Unable to find a suspect, Johler’s case went cold, TheDenverChannel.com is now reporting police have reopened the investigation and Johler’s mother is hopeful they can finally find out what happened to her daughter.
“Just one day at a time, that’s the only way that I can do it,” Kleppen told the Denver Channel. “I have to keep that hope out there that somebody will come forward and justice will be served for Janine. I’m hopeful.”
In 1974, Lula Ann Gillespie-Miller had her third child. Feeling she was too young to be a mother, she signed her children over to her parents and left town. Her family only heard from once after she left when she wrote a letter to them in 1975.
Fox 59 reports that while Gillespie-Miller never committed a crime, she was considered a missing person and in 2014, Indiana State Police Detective Sergeant Scott Jarvis took up the case. One of the first places Detective Jarvis looked was in a cemetery. After getting a court order, a body was exhumed to test for a DNA match, but no match was found.
Detective Jarvis then moved on to tracking a woman with similarities to Gillespie-Miller in Tennessee. The woman had lived in Tennessee in the 1980s before moving to Texas. Confident he’d found Gillespie-Miller, Detective Jarvis sent Texas Marshals to the woman’s home.
Living under an alias, Gillespie-Miller was given contact information for the daughter she’d given to her parents back in the 70s. The family was hopeful they’d reunite over the following Easter holiday.
In the beginning of July last year, The Denver Channel reported Charlene Voight suddenly went missing under very suspicious circumstances. Police quickly arrested Voight’s on again, off again boyfriend, Jeffrey Scott Beier, before releasing him on a $100,000 bond.
Beier was initially the main suspect. Voight’s car was found on a property tied to him and there was blood splatter on the dashboard. Beier also had a history of domestic violence. The Denver Channel Report included this scary quote from one of Beier’s victims, “He threatened that if I were to go to the police, he would kill me and my family.”
In November, Littleton police began searching a landfill they believed could reveal evidence of what happened to Voight. Despite support from the Colorado State Patrol, the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Department, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Colorado National Guard and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Voight’s body still hasn’t been found.