Victim in Upstate double homicide case North Myrtle Beach native, daughter of iconic night club owner

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A woman who Mauldin police said was a victim in a double homicide on Saturday night has ties to North Myrtle Beach and is the daughter of a famed Grand Strand night club owner.

Mariellen Bessent Minor, 41, of Greenville, and her friend Kim Melissa Thrift, 52, were reportedly found dead in the parking lot of a Mauldin apartment complex, police said.

Her estranged husband Chris was found dead by a McCormick County lake on Sunday with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to authorities. He was wanted by police in connection with the shootings.

Bessent’s father, affectionately known as “Fat Harold,” was co-owner of a North Myrtle Beach night club and widely credited with helping to establish the shag being named as South Carolina’s state dance.

Harold Bessent died in 2015 at the age of 82. His obituary lists Mariellen and her husband as survivors.

Mariellen Bessent moved to Greenville in 2012, according to her professional biography on C. Dan Joyner Realtors’ website.

“I am originally from North Myrtle Beach, where fun in the sun, beach music, and shag dancing reign supreme,” she wrote. “Like many beach natives, my career began in the service and hospitality industries. My father owned restaurants in North Myrtle, so I was born and raised in the restaurant biz.”

At a Sunday afternoon press conference, police said that Mariellen Minor and Christopher Minor were married but had separated.

Mariellen Minor and Thrift were at his apartment complex to pick up children that the couple shared.

A fight then occurred, leading to the shooting, according to WSPA.

Officials said that Christopher Minor left the scene and that the children were at the apartment when authorities arrived.

Police said that the children are now with other family members.

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Adam Benson joined the News13 digital team in January 2024. He is a veteran South Carolina reporter with previous stops at the Greenwood Index-Journal, Post & Courier and The Sun News in Myrtle Beach. Adam is a Boston native and University of Utah graduate. Follow Adam on X, formerly Twitter, at @AdamNewshound12. See more of his work here.

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