Man Accused Of Strangling His Girlfriend To Death Dies Of Heart Attack While Burying Her Body
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Police in the US have revealed a man has suffered a heart attack while burying his girlfriend that he had just murdered.
The South Carolina Sheriff's Office said authorities were called to a home in Trenton when neighbours spotted Joseph McKinnon, 60, lying in his garden motionless.
Paramedics soon arrived on the scene and attempted to revive McKinnon with chest compressions, however he was eventually declared dead, according to the Daily Mail.
They sought out his next of kin, who was listed as girlfriend Patricia Ruth Dent. The 65-year-old woman was located on the property wrapped in rubbish bags and lying in a half-buried pit.
The couple lived at the same home in Edgewood County, with the coroner's report revealing vasty different causes of death.
According to the autopsies performed on both bodies, McKinnon’s cause of death was confirmed to be a cardiac arrest.
Dent died by strangulation and was considered to be foul play.
Sky News reports that based on the evidence that was gathered at the scene and witness statements, investigators now believe that Dent was strangled by her McKinnon inside their shared home.
Edgefield County Sheriff Jody Rowland told PEOPLE: "We continued to investigate the yard and this huge garden.
"The house had been freshly cleaned, but we were able to identify blood in the house that tested as hers.
"That took us back to the pit he was digging.
"We got down in the pit and started digging around. We uncovered it enough that we found black garbage bags."
McKinnon is accused of wrapping Dent in rubbish bags and dragging her lifeless body outside to throw her in a pit he had dug.
But, as he was halfway through burying his girlfriend, authorities believe he set aside his shovel and tried to walk away before collapsing on the ground.
It was there he suffered a fatal heart attack, metres away from where he was burying Dent's body.
Edgefield County Sheriff Jody Rowland and Edgefield County Coroner David Burnett released a joint statement revealing what investigators think happened.
"Mr. McKinnon had no signs of trauma and natural causes were suspected," the statement said, according to News Channel 6.
"While investigating the death and making notifications to the next of kin, a second body, was located in a freshly dug pit.
"Patricia Ruth Dent, 65, of the same address appeared to have died by foul play."
Dent's twin sister Pamela Briggs told WRDQ she was shocked by her sister's sad end.
"Everybody who ever met her liked her. She was just full of energy. She was 65 and working," Briggs said.
Briggs said she knew something was wrong when she received a call from her sister's employer after she didn’t show up to work, call, or respond to any texts.
"[They] wanted to know if I knew where my sister was, and I said, 'No I have no idea', and then it just started to play out from there," the twin said.
Briggs then added: "I would say [this feels like] a nightmare, and I want to wake up, and it’s a dream. I know it’s not. This is reality and life, and a big part of me is gone, and now I’m going to have to live with that."