Missing woman found "chained like a dog" in metal container

Kala Brown's partner Charlie Carver is still missing

Missing woman found "chained like a dog" in metal container

Image: Facebook/Missing Charlie Carver and Kala Brown

A woman missing since August has been found chained up "like a dog" in a padlocked metal container in rural South Carolina, US officials have said.

Kala Brown (30) was discovered inside a shipping container after police heard a banging sound when they arrived at a property in the town of Woodruff with a search warrant.

Police said Todd Kohlhepp, a 45-year-old registered sex offender who owned the property, was arrested.

"It was pretty emotional, to say the least, when she was found. Especially, you know, when she was chained like a dog," Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright told a news conference.

"She had a chain around her neck. It's only by God's grace we found that little girl alive."

He said the victim and Kohlhepp knew each other, adding her abduction was "not a random act".

Ms Brown told officers she had been in the container for two months and that there might be up to four bodies on the property, Mr Wright said.

Ms Brown's boyfriend Charles Carver (32), who has also been missing since August, remains unaccounted for.

Mr Wright said of Mr Carver: "We're praying for the best outcome."

Investigators are pursuing further leads based on an interview with Ms Brown, who is being treated at a medical facility.

"We're trying to make sure we don't have a serial killer on our hands," Mr Wright said. "It very possibly could be what we have."