A friend of a Mount Pleasant couple who were found slain in St. Maarten hopes that footage from recently installed security cameras will help authorities identify a suspect.
Michael William King, 53, and his wife, Thelma Strickland King, 57, were found stabbed to death Friday in their condominium on Cupecoy Beach on the Dutch Caribbean island.
Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos in St. Maarten said Thelma King was tied to a chair and Michael King was lying on the floor and partially over another chair, according to news reports.
“I know they installed some heavy video cameras a couple of weeks ago and security at the gate,” said Terry Tamblyn of Isle of Palms, a partner with King in a St. Maarten rental property. “I hope they have some video or something, but I haven’t heard anything else.”
Family members, including two of Michael King’s brothers, went to the island Saturday, and another friend who already was there has also been in touch and has been working with authorities, Tamblyn said.
The Kings had a condominium at Toler’s Cove in Mount Pleasant, but they were from Columbia, Tamblyn said. He said he met the couple in a restaurant about 20 years ago and became “very close” golfing partners with Michael King, often playing Wild Dunes and Bull’s Bay, where King was a member.
Michael King, a retired insurance executive who later started and sold a printing business, was an owner of Polliwogs, a restaurant on Two Notch Road in Columbia, Tamblyn said. A man who answered the phone there Saturday said he could not give out information and would not confirm if King is the owner.
Thelma King had worked at a bank, Tamblyn said.
“He was basically retired for a couple of years, but Mike’s such a go-getter and entrepreneur that he couldn’t sit still so he started the restaurant in Columbia and then got into business in St. Maarten,” Tamblyn said.
The Kings had been visiting St. Maarten for years and owned and sold several properties there, said Tamblyn. They were about to start a spiced-rum business there with restaurant owner Topper Daboul.
“Mike and Thelma were the salt of the Earth,” Tamblyn said. “They had friends there, here, Columbia and everywhere they’d ever been. Everybody loved them. He was like a brother or a son to me. It’s just unfathomable. I still think it’s a nightmare I’m going to wake up from and somebody’s going to tell me it was a big mistake.”
Several news outlets in St. Maarten reported that Michael King’s credit card and cellphone were found in an abandoned car that did not belong to King.
A second home owned by the Kings on St. Maarten was searched Friday, according to St. Martin News Network. Family members have met with police and identified the bodies and autopsies are scheduled for Monday, the agency reported.
St. Maarten Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams issued a statement upon hearing about the deaths.
“I am shocked at learning what has occurred on our island nation,” she said. “St. Maarten is and will always be a nation that is close knit and where people from all over the world come to visit and live. Therefore I am in deep distress upon learning about the horrible acts which have tainted our country.
“Since the incident is still 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.”
Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713.