Man died of heart attack while burying woman he strangled, South Carolina deputies say

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A 60-year-old man who strangled his girlfriend has died of a heart attack while burying her body in his South Carolina backyard, investigators said.

Deputies found the body of Joseph Anthony McKinnon Saturday after neighbors called and reported an unconscious man in a yard in Trenton, the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

While investigating McKinnon’s death, officers found a body wrapped in garbage bags in a freshly dug hole and determined it to be his girlfriend, 65-year-old Patricia Ruth Dent, investigators said.


Deputies say the investigation focused on a backyard in the Edgefield County town of Trenton.

An autopsy in Dent determined she had been strangled, and neighbors told officers they saw McKinnon digging a hole in her yard the day before, deputies said.

McKinnon’s autopsy determined that he died of a heart attack. Agents said he looked like he was almost done filling the grave when he put down the shovel, walked away and collapsed.

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