By Dan Whitcomb
(Reuters) - Two bodies unearthed on the South Carolina property of a registered sex offender suspected in as many as seven murders have been identified as a husband and wife reported missing last December, a county coroner said on Wednesday.
The remains were discovered on the nearly 100-acre grounds in Woodruff of 45-year-old Todd Kohlhepp in the days after police freed a woman found chained inside a metal storage container there.
The bodies have been identified as married couple Johnny Joe Coxie, 29, and Meagan Leigh McCraw Coxie, 25, Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger told reporters at a news conference.
Preliminary autopsy results show that the wife died of a gunshot wound to the head and her husband of a gunshot wound to the torso. They had been buried on the property belonging to Kohlhepp for approximately 11 months, Clevenger said.
Due to the condition of the clothed bodies they were identified through dental records and "extensive tattoos" on both bodies, he said.
Kohlhepp, who worked as a real estate agent, was taken into custody last week after sheriff's deputies heard banging from the storage container and found 30-year-old Kala Brown inside, chained by the neck.
Brown, who was reported missing in August along with her live-in boyfriend, Charlie Carver, told authorities that Kohlhepp shot Carver dead in front of her and that four more bodies might be buried on the grounds.
The remains of Carver, 32, were found in a shallow grave on the property the following day. Two more bodies were discovered in the ensuing investigation.
Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright has said that Kohlhepp has confessed to four previously unsolved killings at a motorcycle shop 13 years ago may ultimately be linked to as many as seven murders.
Kohlhepp, who has not yet retained an attorney, has so far been charged with four counts of murder and denied bail.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)