Bodies found on man’s property were buried for a year

Seanna Adcox
Associated Press

Two bodies found on the rural property of a South Carolina man linked to five other deaths were a couple who had a history of panhandling and had been buried there for nearly a year, authorities said Wednesday.

One of the victims was 25-year-old Meagan Coxie of Spartanburg, who appears to have died from a gunshot wound to the head. The other was her husband, 29-year-old Johnny Coxie, who was shot in his chest, Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said.

Their families were told the couple was killed, and they’re grieving, he said.

“It’s bad news but also they have questions that we’re able to give them answers to. This isn’t a run of the mill case. It never has been,” Clevenger said.

Their “extensive tattoos” helped identify them, he said. The couple has at least one child.

Authorities caught a break in the cold cases last week when investigators searching the property discovered a woman alive and chained in a large storage container, yelling for help. Her boyfriend’s body was later found in a shallow grave on the land. That couple had disappeared about two months earlier.

The property owner, Todd Kohlhepp, was arrested at his suburban home in Moore, about 10 miles away. After his arrest, deputies say he confessed to killing four other people in the county at a motorcycle shop in 2003. He acknowledged the grisly cold case after authorities granted him several requests, including letting him speak to his mother. He also led authorities to the graves on his property.

Authorities believe they’ve uncovered all the bodies there, Sheriff’s Lt. Kevin Bobo said.

Kohlhepp, 45, was denied bond Sunday on four murder charges in the killing of the motorcycle shop’s owner, service manager, mechanic and bookkeeper. He has chosen to represent himself. More charges are expected.

“There’s no reason to rush,” Bobo said. “He’s not going anywhere.”

As a teen, Kohlhepp was sentenced to 14 years in prison in Arizona for binding and raping a 14-year-old neighbor at gunpoint. Released in 2001, he managed to obtain a real estate license in South Carolina in 2006 and by most accounts, lived a very private but seemingly quiet life.

The couple identified Wednesday was reported missing last December, after being released from jail earlier that month. Meagan Coxie had told her mother she needed to be bonded out so she could go to a job, but then her mother lost contact, Bobo said. He did not specify why they were in jail.

Both had outstanding arrest warrants on “various offenses” issued after they disappeared, Bobo said.

The two were buried roughly 11 months ago, Clevenger said.

“There’s no way of putting an exact time of death,” he said.

Also Wednesday, the metal container where the woman spent two months locked inside was removed from the 95-acre property.

The Associated Press is not naming the woman because the suspect is a sex offender, though authorities have not said whether she was sexually assaulted. Her boyfriend was 32-year-old Charlie Carver.

Carver’s estranged wife, 35-year-old Nichole Ellen Carver, was arrested Tuesday after police said she posed as a detective when she called AT&T last month to try to track down Charlie Carver’s phone.