SPARTANBURG, S.C. — A woman who was “chained up like a dog” for weeks in a dark storage container was lured to her captor’s South Carolina property for a cleaning job, a family friend said Friday as search teams digging up the area found one body and looked for more.

Authorities were “trying to make sure that we don’t have a serial killer on our hands,” the sheriff said. Investigators were told the property could hold as many as three other corpses.

Prosecutor Barry Barnette said the woman saw her captor shoot and kill her boyfriend, who went with her to the job. The body discovered Friday was not immediately identified.

The couple disappeared around Aug. 31 when they went to do the work on the suspect’s nearly 100-acre property in a rural area near the community of Woodruff, said Daniel Herren, a friend who sat with her in her hospital room after she was rescued Thursday.

“They were going to do some work, help cleaning up the property. And he pulled out a gun and took them hostage,” Herren said, adding that the abduction happened quickly.

Todd Christopher Kohlhepp, a 45-year-old registered sex offender with previous kidnapping conviction, appeared at a bond hearing Friday in Spartanburg on a kidnapping charge. More charges will be filed later, the prosecutor told the court.

The judge did not set bond and instead referred the matter to circuit court. The suspect did not appear to have an attorney, and the judge urged him to get one.

The Associated Press is not naming the woman because the suspect is a sex offender, though authorities have not said whether she was sexually assaulted. Her boyfriend was identified as 32-year-old Charles Carver.

Herren, who visited her in the hospital and had dinner with her Thursday, said he did not ask the woman if she was sexually assaulted.

But she did describe to him the details of her captivity, telling him she was in the container nearly the entire time except for when she was taken out for occasional walks.

“He never took the chain off of her, but he was taking her around, let her get, not so much exercise, but let her walk around some,” Herren said.During Friday’s search efforts, officers using all-terrain vehicles and a backhoe came and went while a law enforcement helicopter circled overhead.

Investigators began excavating after cadaver dogs signaled the possible presence of remains.

Acting on a tip, deputies found the woman after hearing her banging inside the container, Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said.

Records indicate Kohlhepp is a licensed real estate agent and licensed pilot. As a teenager, he was convicted and sentenced to prison in Arizona for kidnapping and dangerous crimes against children.