Deputies: South Carolina man died of heart attack while burying body

TRENTON, S.C. — Days after two bodies were found in a South Carolina backyard, sheriff’s deputies said that one killed the other, and then died while digging a grave.

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Deputies with the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office told WJBF they believe Joseph McKinnon strangled Patricia Dent inside her home, and then was burying her in the backyard when he had a heart attack and died.

Deputies were first called to the Trenton home on Saturday when a man was reported lying unresponsive in the yard, The News & Observer reported. When officers arrived, they found Joseph McKinnon, 60, who lived in the home.

In a statement to WJBF, deputies said, “While investigating the death and making notifications to next of kin, a second body, was located in a freshly dug pit.” Officers identified the second person as Patricia Dent, who also lived in the home.

Sheriff’s deputies told The News & Observer that McKinnon strangled Dent, “then bound her and wrapped her in trash bags before putting her in the previously dug pit.”

Investigators told WRDW they believe that McKinnon set had the heart attack while covering the pit and died on the spot.