Man who strangled girlfriend died of heart attack while burying her

Joseph McKinnon (right) is accused of strangling his girlfriend Patricia Dent (centre) to death

Joseph McKinnon (right) has been accused of strangling his girlfriend Patricia Dent (centre) to death (Images: Facebook)

A 60-year-old man who choked his girlfriend to death suffered a fatal heart attack while burying her in their backyard.

Joseph McKinnon, 60, killed Patricia Ruth Dent, 65, at her home in Trenton, South Carolina on Saturday, the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office said.

In a turn of events, according to Fox, 11 first responders were called to the home after neighbors reported seeing an unconscious man lying in the yard.

When MPs arrived, they found McKinnon lying in the courtyard. Medical personnel were then called to the house to try to revive him.

While investigating McKinnon’s death, officers discovered a second body, wrapped in garbage bags, in a newly dug hole in the ground.

Investigators then discovered that the body buried in the makeshift grave was his girlfriend Dent, who had lived with him. Officials believe McKinnon attacked Dent in the home, and an autopsy report concluded she died from strangulation.

“Mr McKinnon then tied them up and wrapped them in garbage bags before placing them in the pit he dug earlier,” Sheriff Jody Rowland said.

Neighbors told authorities they saw McKinnon digging a hole in his yard the day before.

An autopsy performed by McKinnon revealed that he had a “cardiac event” while he was working to cover the grave. He was reportedly almost done filling the grave when he put down the shovel, walked away and collapsed, authorities said.

Dent was absent from work at Mount Vintage golf course the day she died, resulting in calls and texts from concerned colleagues going unanswered.

Neighbors were shocked by the news and expressed concern for safety.

“We have no idea, and that’s what we’re asking. At least let us know it’s something that they may or may not have control over,” Dawn Howanietz told WJBF News. “Do we need to make sure everything is locked tight? Watch our dogs or our animals? We got a farmer back there too, you know, that’s scary.”

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Justin Scacco

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