Mount Pleasant couple stabbed to death in St. Maarten

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. -- Friends of Michael and Thelma King were stunned Friday to learn of their violent deaths in the Dutch Caribbean country of St. Maarten.

“It’s beyond me. It was such a shock,” said Terry Tamblyn of Isle of Palms. “I can’ t figure any reason. It was crazy to me. Everybody loved Mike and Thelma.”

The couple resided at a Tolers Cove condominum where they stayed much of the year.

Michael King was a generous man, said Tamblyn, who was a partner with King in St. Maarten rental property. King and his wife were on the island for vacation and business, he said.

“He’d give you the shirt off his back,” Tamblyn said. “They were just the greatest people in the world. I can’t think of any enemies.”

Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos in St. Maarten said the couple was stabbed. Thelma King was tied to a chair. Michael King was lying on the floor and partially over another chair, according to a press released issued by the prosecutor and posted at the St. Martin News website.

“The motive of this horrific crime is yet unclear,” he said.

Their bodies were found Friday morning in a condominium at Ocean Club Resort in Cupe Coy, the prosecutor said. St. Maarten 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.”

Neither Daboul nor police knew the King’s hometown. Both were in their 50s.

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 were part-time residents of St. Maarten and owned several homes there.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Read more in tomorrow’s editions of The Post and Courier.