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Police investigate killing of American couple in St. Maarten

By Gabriel Falcon, CNN
September 24, 2012 -- Updated 2012 GMT (0412 HKT)
The bodies of Michael and Thelma King of South Carolina were discovered Friday at their residence in Cupecoy, St. Maarten.
The bodies of Michael and Thelma King of South Carolina were discovered Friday at their residence in Cupecoy, St. Maarten.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Michael and Thelma King were found dead Friday
  • A suspect is detained and is being interviewed in the case
  • "This was an ugly scene," an official says

(CNN) -- Police on the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Maarten are investigating the killing of an American couple found stabbed in their home, authorities said Sunday.

The bodies of Michael and Thelma King of South Carolina were discovered Friday at their residence in Cupecoy, according to Taco Stein, St. Maarten's solicitor general, who described it as "an ugly scene."

An unidentified suspect was taken into custody early Sunday and is being interviewed, Stein said.

"It's too early to reveal any more details because we are in the early stages of the investigation," he added.

The killings occurred in an area popular with tourists, according to Stein.

"It's generally considered a safe area," he told CNN. "There are a lot of apartments there. This was an ugly scene. This is something that does not happen every day."

Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos told the island's Daily Herald newspaper that the victims appeared to have been stabbed to death. Thelma King was found tied to a chair and her husband was lying on the floor, Mos told the newspaper.

Topper Daboul, a restaurant owner on the island, said he was a friend and business partner of the couple.

"They were beautiful people," he said. "They were kind to everybody."

Daboul said he believes robbery might have been a possible motive.

"I'm shocked, I'm still in shock," he said, adding, "I break down and I'm back up and I break down again."

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