Nearly two dozen sheriff's deputies accompanied by a cadaver dog conducted a thorough search Wednesday without finding any additional bodies connected to a man who pleaded guilty last year to seven killings, the sheriff's department said.
About 20 deputies searched for hours in heavily wooded areas along Interstate 26 after Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said he had received a "second-or-third-hand tip" from a documentary film crew about more bodies connected with Todd Kohlhepp, who previously lived in the area. Kohlhepp is serving seven consecutive life sentences without parole in a Columbia prison after pleading guilty in May 2017.
The authorities suspended their search after coming up empty and have no plans to resume unless more information comes to light, Sheriff's Lt. Kevin Bobo said in a statement.
Earlier Wednesday, Wright said he wasn't optimistic about finding any more bodies and didn't want to give the killer any unwarranted attention, but "because I know he's killed seven, I feel like we need to check this out."
Kohlhepp had given differing stories to authorities and a documentary production crew about the locations of the bodies of people he claimed to have killed more than a decade ago, Bobo said. He also said Kohlhepp turned down a request from authorities to show them the bodies' supposed location.
The unidentified documentary crew was given access to the search while other news media were kept away.
Kohlhepp's crimes were discovered in late 2016, when police rescued a woman being held inside a storage container on his property.