As a convicted felon and registered sex offender, Todd Kohlhepp (accused serial killer discussed in DHF Episode 7) should never have been allowed to work in a profession that afforded opportunities for him to be alone with unsuspecting potential victims ... yet in 2006 the state of South Carolina granted him a real estate license.
In order to obtain this license, Kohlhepp provided a whitewashed explanation of his felony conviction to the state licensing board and failed to report that he was a registered sex offender. Confusingly, South Carolina did not conduct mandatory background checks for real estate agents at the time of Kohlhepp's application (though the policy has since changed) and his statements were assumed to be accurate.
The images and PDF file above are scans of the original documents submitted by Kohlhepp to the South Carolina Department of Labor in order to secure his license as a real estate agent.
In the documents, Kohlhepp suggests that his felony conviction for kidnapping and the ensuing fifteen year stint in prison was the result of a misunderstanding between himself, a girlfriend's parents, and his illegal possession of a firearm. A less rose-tinted evaluation of the events would show that as a teen, Kohlhepp had abducted and brutally raped a 15 year old girl and taken a plea deal to avoid an even harsher sentence.
Being erroneously granted a real estate license gave Kohlhepp an air of legitimacy and trustworthiness to the Woodruff, SC community and his business associates. This is just another element in the strange, tragic, disturbing chain of events that allowed him to get away with murder until just a few short weeks ago.
Toward the end of October, I was visiting family in Southern West Virginia. As it turned out, the remains of Lake Shawnee Amusement Park (discussed in episode 4) were located in Rock, WV ... just about a half-hour drive away from where I was staying.
Locals claim that the abandoned amusement park is "one of the most haunted locations in the United States" ... legend holds that thousands of Shawnee Indians are buried throughout the valley that the park was built in. Supposedly the vengeful spirits caused a number of unusual deaths at the Amusement Park throughout the early-mid 1900s.
I managed to convince my grandfather to ride along with me to the town of Rock in order to find the allegedly haunted Amusement Park. During the excursion, I took a number of photos of Rock and the area that immediately surrounded it. The gloomy mountainsides and twisting roads that snake through empty pastures and dim farmhouses leave a somber feeling in the pit of your stomach.
My grandfather and I didn't witness any supernatural activity in Rock, WV that day... but we did get a bunch of interesting photographs of the dreary local scenery -- some of which are featured in the slideshow above. You can hear my full account of the experience (featuring a brief guest appearance from my Grandfather) on DHF Episode 4.5 .