Mt. Pleasant couple killed in St. Maarten

Michael and Thelma King. (Source: WIS)
Michael and Thelma King. (Source: WIS)

CHARLESTON, SC (AP/WCSC) - A couple from South Carolina was found dead in a beachfront condominium in the Dutch Caribbean country of St. Maarten on Friday.

Police say the bodies of Michael and Thelma King were found in their condo late Friday morning and both appeared to have sustained lethal stab wounds. Michael King, who is from the Irmo-Chapin area in South Carolina, owned a home there, as well as in Mt. Pleasant and St. Maarten.

According to a release by Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos, a team of 25 officers are investigating the murder. A motive for the crime is unclear.

Local restaurant owner Topper Daboul told The Associated Press that he was a friend of Michael King and that they were building a rum factory together.

He said that King had recently sold an unidentified company in the U.S.

"These two people probably had to hang their wings up at night. That's how beautiful they were," Daboul said. "Their life was pretty successful ... They had oodles of dollars. They had everything they ever wanted in life."

Daboul said he last saw Michael King on Wednesday afternoon.

"I knew some other friends had drinks with them that night," he said. "We weren't able to reach them on Thursday. We called all day on Thursday. The fact that he didn't call made me a little suspicious, but not a lot."

Daboul said he drove over to the apartment on Friday and banged on the door. He said he asked a person who had been on the premises at the time to climb over a fence and see if they saw anyone in the house.

Daboul said the person told him that he saw a dead man leaning over a chair.

The Kings lived part time in St. Maarten and lived the rest of the year in Charleston.

Officials of the Government of St. Maarten have released the following statement concerning the murders:

"Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the couple found murdered at the Ocean Club in St. Maarten. Since the incident is under investigation, we cannot comment about the details at this time, but we can assure you that every government resource is being brought into play to investigate and solve this case."

Copyright 2012 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.