Two of the bodies found buried on the property of Todd Kohlhepp, the real estate broker who was arrested for kidnapping and linked to seven murders last week, have been identified.
According to a news briefing held by South Carolina authorities, the two victims were a couple — a husband and wife.
Coroner Rusty Clevenger said that one victim was a 25-year-old woman. She appears to have died from a gunshot wound to her head.
Her husband, a 29-year-old man, appears to have died from a gunshot wound to his torso.
Kohlhepp’s story has captured the attention of the real estate industry that often worries about issues of safety and credibility.
Before starting his 10-year career as a Realtor and broker-in-charge for TKA Real Estate in 2006, Kohlhepp had spent 15 years in jail after pleading guilty to forcing a 14-year-old into his bedroom at gunpoint and raping her.
But that gruesome history was unknown to his clients, who gave Kohlhepp shining reviews on Zillow and realtor.com for his aggressive marketing, wide knowledge base, respectful attitude and attentiveness.
Since then, his profile has been removed from both sites, but Realtors have been left with the question: How could a convicted sex offender and alleged serial killer obtain a license?
At the time of his licensing, the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations required applicants to disclose and explain any history of criminal convictions. But there was no background check requirement in place to verify the applicants’ claims.
The National Association of Realtors’ Managing Director of Media Communications Sara Wiskerchen says some local associations do require additional background checks for an agent to become a Realtor — a title that Kohlhepp claimed — but that varies by association. She offered condolences to the victims on behalf of NAR.
“NAR is deeply disturbed by the news reports regarding Todd Kohlhepp, and our deepest sympathies go out to the victims and family members affected by his alleged activities,” Wiskerchen said.
The Spartanburg Police Department is currently investigating Kohlhepp.