It was probably the last thing investigators were expecting to hear. But Todd Kohlhepp had a lot he wanted to say.

Officers in Spartanburg County, in the US state of South Carolina, had arrested Kohlhepp, 45, after the shocking discovery of a woman "chained like a dog" inside a storage container. Kala Brown had been missing, along with partner Charlie Carver, since August.

Acting on a tip-off, police walked onto Kohlhepp's property and found Ms Brown, who told them she had seen Kohlhepp shoot Mr Carver dead in front of her.

He was quickly arrested, and it was while he was being questioned about the kidnapping he told them about a death. Six of them in fact.

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Authorities said Kohlhepp confessed to six murders - four of them were shot during the so-called "Superbike Murders" in 2003 and the other two were a young married couple Meagan Leigh McCraw Coxie, 25, and Johnny Joe Coxie, 29, who went missing after they were released from jail in December 2015.

Their bodies were discovered at the weekend after Kohlhepp led them there, in an orange boiler suit and handcuff, to the location in the bush on his sprawling property. The body of Charlie Carver was found nearby too, in a shallow grave.

He has been charged over the four "Superbike" murders and of kidnapping of Ms Brown. Police have said other charges are likely.

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

He was registered as a sex offender. But none of that stopped him from getting a South Carolina real estate license in 2006, establishing a firm building a career and reputation and appearing -from the outside at least - to be living a quiet, private, normal life.

So why now? Why after all these years did Kohlhepp confess? And how did this killer exist for so long in plain sight of everyone?

THE DEAL

Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright has become the public face of this sensational case. He has fronted media conferences daily as the body count got higher and the questions kept on coming.

In a candid style typical of the US, not possible under Australian law, Sheriff Wright told of how the admissions played out.

Before Kohlhepp told them about shootings, Sheriff Wright said he told them what he wanted. There were three things. Firstly, he wanted Wright to take a picture to his mother; he wanted to speak to his mum, and also to transfer money to a girl he was helping bring up.

"He wanted me to give his mom a picture, so I did. He wanted to be the one to tell his mom some stuff, so I did. So I actually said a prayer with him," Sheriff Wright told NBC.

Police struck up a rapport with him. Sheriff Wright believed he was trying to make amends.

It was after that, without a lawyer and speaking freely with police, he made the confessions.

Kala Brown hadn't been seen or heard from since August 31. Photo / Facebook
Kala Brown hadn't been seen or heard from since August 31. Photo / Facebook

THE MASSACRE

For 13 long years police have tried to crack the case of one of South Carolina's most grisly mass killings.

Mechanic Chris Sherbert, 26, was killed as he worked, bent over a bike it appeared he'd been working on. Bookkeeper Beverly Guy, 52, was found just outside the bathroom in the middle of the showroom. Police believe she was ambushed - with nowhere to run or hide.

Thirty-year-old shop owner Scott Ponder was found just outside the door in the parking lot. He was Mrs Guy's son. Brian Lucas was in the doorway of the shop.

In just seven minutes four lives were lost at Superbike Motorsports, Mr Ponder's high performance motorbike shop. The city of Chesnee had just had its first quadruple homicide, and it all played out in broad daylight.

A number of different theories were canvassed. Were the killings motivated by something in one of the victims private lives? They were all checked out, including a drugs link to Mr Sherbert, but no concrete leads eventuated.

Then came a shocking twist - Mr Ponder's wife Melissa gave birth to a child that a DNA test revealed belonged to Mr Lucas. Was the mass shooting really caused by some kind of affair or love triangle.

No - after 18 months of wrangling, it was discovered a dna mix up [ Mr Ponder and Mr Lucas's bodies were near each other and blood samples were mixed] had meant investigators wrongly believed Mrs Ponder had been having an affair.

"They did tell me that the blood had been mislabelled because Brian's body and Scott's body were next to each other at the crime scene and they had just put the wrong name on the blood vial," she told Fox's Crime Watch.

Terry Guy, the husband of Beverley and stepfather of Mr Ponder, told People magazine that Kohlhepp's name was one of 15 names that had been highlighted - from a customer database of 400 - but he was never questioned.

The highlighted names were people officers believed needed to be spoken to quickly. Kohlhepp had been in the store, very angry, in previous weeks.

"The police know how I feel about it," he said.

He said the police "tormented her and accused her of all this" and she eventually left town, even after her name was cleared because of the stigma of the accusations.

Thomas Lucas, father of Brian Lucas, said the whole thing wasted resources that should have been spent chasing the killer.

"When they started pressing [Mrs Ponder] they were really pointing the finger at her."

LEIGH AND JOHNNY COXIE

The Coxies were reported missing December 2015 after being released from jail a few weeks earlier. Meagan Leigh McCraw Coxie had told her mother she needed to be bonded out so she could go to a job, but then her mother lost contact. She never heard from her daughter again.

Both had outstanding arrest warrants on "various offences" issued after they disappeared, police said.

Earlier in 2015 she and husband Johnny Coxie posted pictures on social media of a new baby. The child has been accounted for.

A wooden storage shed is seen on Todd Kohlhepp's property. Photo / AP
A wooden storage shed is seen on Todd Kohlhepp's property. Photo / AP

It's not clear how their paths crossed with Kohlhepp - all that is known so far is information gleaned from the post-mortems. And even that is sketchy at best. To begin with pinpointing the time of death is nearly impossible - the only thing that can be said with a degree of certainty is they were both buried roughly 11 months ago.

"There's no way of putting an exact time of death," Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger told reporters.

Preliminary autopsy results show Mrs Coxie died of a gunshot wound to the head and her husband of one to the torso.

But the state of the bodies could hinder the investigation.

"There were some parts of the bodies we were not able to recover. But I really don't want to get into that because there is an open investigation."

As a result the bodies, which were both clothed were identified through dental records and "extensive tattoos" on both bodies.

Coroner Clevenger admitted it wasn't a "run of the mill case", but the families at least were no longer wondering where their loved ones were.

Understandably, they were devastated and were "grieving", he said.

"It's bad news but also they have questions that we're able to give them answers to."

KALA BROWN and CHARLIE CARVER

In some way, Ms Brown and Mr Carver were the couple where it all ended. But they were also where it began to unravel for Kohlhepp.

When Ms Brown was discovered last week the sight of her "chained like a dog" was traumatic for officers.

When officers got close to the container they could hear 30-year-old Ms Brown banging frantically on the metal.

She had been fed regularly but was in a bad way. "This is tragic ... that this person was being treated like that," Sheriff Wright told reporters. "We need your prayers for this lady."

"It was pretty emotional, to say the least, when she was found - especially when she was chained like a dog. She had a chain around her neck! Its only by God's grace we found that little girl alive."

She confirmed to police she'd seen Mr Carver die. His own family clung to hope she was wrong; but his body, riddled with bullet wounds, was found on the property in a shallow grave.

Ms Brown was known to Kohlhepp, having worked occasionally for him as a cleaner at some of the homes he was trying to sell. No further details have been given about the day in which she and Mr Carver were attacked by him, although police believe she had been captive in the container for the entire time she had been missing.

Chillingly, someone had been posted messages on Mr Carver's Facebook account while he was gone. His profile picture changed on September 6 and then a message appeared saying they just packed up and left and that they were fine.

But the couple's family feared the account was hacked and someone other than Mr Carver or Ms Brown were making the posts.

Kala Brown and Charlie Carver. Photo / Facebook / Finding Kala and Charlie
Kala Brown and Charlie Carver. Photo / Facebook / Finding Kala and Charlie

Last month, news.com.au reported whoever was controlling the account was sharing and "liking" the missing pages set up by the couple's families, including a Go Fund Me campaign by Ms Brown's family to raise money for a private investigator.

Who made the posts? Was it Kohlhepp? Or someone else? And why would they?

In just a week, police have managed to get some answers to a mass killing, a double murder and the bizarre missing persons case of Ms Brown and Mr Carver, thanks largely to the admissions of Kohlhepp to police. But the creepy Facebook changes prove there is likely much more to hear.