A Man Killed A Woman & Died Of A Heart Attack While Burying Her Body, According To Police

Police responded to reports of "an unresponsive male lying in his yard."

Global Staff Writer
Police and ambulance in at a crime scene.

Police and ambulance in at a crime scene.

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A South Carolina man was burying the body of a woman he had killed when he suffered a heart attack and died, police believe.

Authorities said they responded to a call about "an unresponsive male lying in his yard" on May 7.

Officers arrived at a residence in Trenton, South Carolina, to find Joseph Anthony McKinnon, 60, dead in the yard. They then found the body of Patricia Ruth Dent, 65, in a "freshly dug pit."

Police said evidence suggests that McKinnon had attacked Dent in the house and was burying her body in the yard when he suffered a "cardiac event," Edgefield County Sheriff Jody Rowland and County Coroner David Burnett said in a statement to WFLA.

"Mr. McKinnon had no signs of trauma and natural causes were suspected," they wrote, adding that Dent "appeared to have died by foul play."

An autopsy revealed that Dent died by strangulation.

"Evidence gathered at the scene, along with statements from witnesses aided investigators to build a timeline, leading us to believe that Mr. McKinnon attacked Ms. Dent while inside their home," Rowland and Burnett said in the statement.

Police say McKinnon wrapped Dent "in trash bags before putting her in the previously dug pit."

"The pit was then partially filled in by Mr. McKinnon. While covering the pit, Mr. McKinnon had the cardiac event, causing his death."

Authorities say Dent and McKinnon lived together. However, the exact relationship between the two is unknown.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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