Mother of Accused Serial Killer Todd Kohlhepp Tells 48 Hours: ‘Todd is Not a Monster’

By A.J. Katz 

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“You want the real Making of a Murderer? You got it here,” says 48 hours ep Susan Zirinsky. “This is the real deal.”

The case of Kala Brown, a kidnapped woman in Woodruff, South Carolina found chained inside a storage container last Thursday, has exposed a stunning tale of a potential serial killer. Todd Kohlhepp, 45-year-old South Carolina man, is currently in police custody for holding Brown hostage for two months and killing her boyfriend, Charles David Carver. Brown had worked for Kohlhepp cleaning houses for his real estate business. While in custody, Kohlhepp, police say, confessed to other murders.

Even in the midst of the final days of the election, Zirinsky knew this shocking case of a potential serial killer was a story worthy of long-running CBS News Saturday night newsmagazine.

So, CBS dispatched David Begnaud and 48 Hours correspondent Peter Van Sant to South Carolina to interview local investigators, family members, neighbors, friends of Kohlhepp and friends of the victims. Begnaud even got Kohlhepp’s mother, Regina Tague, on the record last night. “Todd is not a monster. He’s not even close to it. He wasn’t doing it for enjoyment. He was doing it because he was mad and he was hurt,” she said.

During final editing of tomorrow night’s hour, Zirinsky spoke with us about the episode. “This is a man who, for all outward appearances, seems to be a successful real estate broker and we have people who talk about him in glowing terms, including people who knew him as an agent,” said Zirinsky. “He was a smart man, and a smart kid. His mother, who is just so conflicted right now, tells us he used to read encyclopedias as a child. As an adult, he drove a BMW and even had a pilot’s license! But what they didn’t realize is that it was a mask for a secondary life.”

Zirinsky and her team, not only produce 48 Hours every week, but CBS turns to them in times of national and international breaking news, when instant prime time specials need to be produced.

“What we are trying to do here is something a little different,” said Zirinsky. “Sometimes when there’s a breaking story, magazine shows often pull back, they work on it, they try to get a giant ‘get.’ But in the world we live in, I thought it would be interesting to take a different philosophical stance.

Obviously the world had a different breaking story in front of them in the form of the election, but last week when they found Kala and this tale was unraveling, this seemed to be very interesting for us to react in real time to. We made a commitment no matter where the story was, we were going to stop and report it the next week.”

“This is an exploding story, and it’s not anywhere near over.”

Buried Truth airs Saturday night at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.