'Keep in car for when you have to hide the bodies': Amazon reviews may be linked to SC murder suspect

Investigators said Monday they were looking into a series of suspicious Amazon.com product reviews that might be linked to the suspect in a string of murders and at least one kidnapping in South Carolina, local media reported.

Officers named Todd Kohlhepp as a suspect in at least seven deaths soon after a woman was found chained by her neck and ankle "like a dog" in a metal storage container on his 95-acre property near rural Woodruff on Thursday. The body of the woman's boyfriend turned up in a shallow grave the next day. The couple had vanished in August.

The Amazon product reviews appeared in 2014, Fox Carolina reported. In one review for a folding shovel, the user wrote, "keep in car for when you have to hide the bodies and you left the full size shovel at home."


Describing a padlock: "Works great.. also if someone talks back.. go old school on them by putting this in a sock and beating them... works great on shipping containers."

And, about another padlock: "solid locks.. have 5 on a shipping container.. wont stop them.. but sure will slow them down til they are too old to care."

The user's name was "me," but the products were all connected to a wish list for a "Todd Kohlhepp," the news station added.


Spartanburg County deputies told Fox Carolina they were aware of the reviews and were investigating whether they were in fact connected to the suspect.

After his arrest, he confessed to a killing four peopple in 2003 quadruple at a motorcycle shop in the small town of Chesnee, investigators said. He was denied bond Sunday during a brief court appearance on four murder charges for those slayings.

He's also charged with kidnapping the woman, and more criminal counts are expected. Investigators said they suspected he killed at least three people in addition to the motorcycle shop victims.

A Spartanburg County Sheriff's investigative report says Kohlhepp "confessed to investigators that he shot and killed" the motorcycle shop's owner, service manager, mechanic and bookkeeper, giving details only the killer would know.

Now, Sheriff Chuck Wright, who was first elected about a year after the Superbike Motorsports killings, has a wide-ranging investigation of a crime spree over more than a decade.

The investigation has expanded to other properties that Kohlhepp, a real estate agent, either currently or used to own. Those properties are not limited to South Carolina, Wright said Sunday, declining to be more specific.

Both the FBI and Homeland Security are involved, he said.

Kohlhepp showed investigators Saturday where he says he buried two other victims on the property he bought two years ago. Human remains were uncovered Sunday at one of those sites, Wright said.

"We're not even close" on identifying the remains or cause of death, he said. "We can't tell anything."

Kohlhepp did not tell investigators who was buried there. Removing the remains to "preserve every bit of evidence" is a meticulous, time-consuming process, said Coroner Rusty Clevenger.

On Sunday, Kohlhepp appeared in an orange jumpsuit for the brief bond hearing and declined to make a statement. He didn't have an attorney.

After Kohlhepp left the courtroom, Magistrate Judge Jimmy Henson told the family members they would have a chance later to address Kohlhepp in court.

"You have something to say. You've been waiting 13 years to say it," he said.

The father of Brian Lucas, the 29-year-old service manager killed, thanked the judge.

"Your honor, I appreciate your words to us and your counsel," Tom Lucas said as two others put their hands on his shoulders. "We thank you."

Before the hearing, Lucas said he wanted to be in court to look Kohlhepp in the eye.

"I want to look at him, and I want to try to use that in healing," he said.

Kohlhepp was released from prison in Arizona in 2001. As a teenager, he was convicted of raping a 14-year-old neighbor at gunpoint and threatening to kill her siblings if she called police.

Kohlhepp had to register as a sex offender. But that didn't stop him from getting a South Carolina real estate license in 2006, building a firm and maintaining the appearance of normalcy.

In Woodruff on Sunday, scores of people congregated outside the chain link fence that surrounds the wooded property.

"Things like this don't happen at home," said Tina Gowan, who lives in Pauline but grew up in Moore, where Kohlhepp lived. "He looked like your everyday Joe."

She was among those who prayed at the fence.

Frances Bradley, who lives near the 95-acre site, said God answered prayers in solving the 2003 cold case.

"I was so awe-struck by the revelation," she said, she felt a need to pray at the fence before going to church. "I thanked God for giving us good out of this."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.