A 30-year-old woman, who went missing in August along with her boyfriend, was found “chained like a dog” inside a locked shipping container in a rural area of southeastern US state of South Carolina, officials said.
Kala Brown was discovered after police searching the property in Spartanburg County in connection with the duo’s disappearance heard banging noises from inside the 15 feet by 30 feet metal container, sheriff Chuck Wright said.
The authorities then heard Brown screaming, “Help me! Get me out of here!”, Wright told CNN.
The deputies took a padlock off the doors of the container and opened it to find her tethered by the neck following which they used tools on the property to cut her free.
A registered sex offender, 42-year-old Todd Kohlhepp who owns the 100-acre property, has been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping.
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.
Brown, who was “obviously traumatised” is being treated at a medical facility but there was no word on her 32-year-old boyfriend Charles David Carver.
“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,” he said.
“She had a chain around her neck! Its only by God’s grace we found that little girl alive,” he was quoted as saying by WYFF, a local affiliate of NBC.
The sheriff described the container as a hellish place to be locked in during the area’s hot weather, with no lights, no windows, no air flow.
She was paid two visits a day to be fed food and water.
Wright told reporters that investigators think Kohlhepp, Carver and Brown may have known each other, but their relationship was not clear to authorities.
“I don’t think this was a random act,” the sheriff said, adding that weapons were found on the property – which has no home on it and Kohlhepp did not live there.
“We’re trying to make sure we don’t have a serial killer on our hands,” Wright said, adding that it “very possibly could be what we have”.