Joseph McKinnon (right) has been accused of strangling his girlfriend Patricia Dent (middle) to death (Pictures: Facebook)
A 60-year-old man who strangled his girlfriend to death had a fatal heart attack while burying her in their backyard.
Joseph McKinnon, 60, killed Patricia Ruth Dent, 65, inside their Trenton, South Carolina home on Saturday, the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office said.
In a turn of events, first responders were called to the home after neighbors reported seeing an unconscious man lying in the yard, according to Fox 11.
When deputies arrived, they found McKinnon laying in the yard. Medical crews were then called to the home to try and revive him.
As officials investigated McKinnon’s death, they discovered a second body wrapped up in trash bags inside a freshly dug hole in the ground.
Investigators then determined the body buried in the makeshift grave was his girlfriend, Dent, who had lived with him. Officials believe McKinnon had attacked Dent in the home, and an autopsy report concluded she had died by strangulation.
‘Mr McKinnon then bound her and wrapped her in trash bags before putting her in the previously dug pit,’ Sheriff Jody Rowland said.
Neighbors told authorities they had also seen McKinnon digging a hole in his yard the day before.
An autopsy of McKinnon found he had a ‘cardiac event’ while working to cover the grave. He had reportedly been nearly done filling the grave when he set the shovel down, walked away and collapsed, authorities said.
Dent was missing from work at the Mount Vintage golf course on the day she died, prompting calls and texts from concerned coworkers that went unanswered.
Neighbors were shocked by the news and expressed concern about safety.
‘We have no idea and that’s what we’re asking about. At least let us know that it’s something they have in control or don’t have in control,’ Dawn Howanietz told WJBF News. ‘Do we have to make sure everything is locked up tight? Watch our dogs or our animals? We got a farmer back there, too, you know, it’s scary.’
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