Man Dies of Heart Attack While Digging Grave for Woman He Allegedly Killed

A 60-year-old South Carolina man died of a heart attack while he was digging a grave for a woman who he allegedly strangled to death inside his home.

A South Carolina man died of a heart attack while digging a grave for his girlfriend, who police believe he strangled inside of his home prior to burying her body, WJBF reports.

The Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office arrived at a home in Trenton on Saturday, after receiving a call regarding an unresponsive man in his yard. After discovering 60-year-old Joseph McKinnon’s body, authorities found a second body “in a freshly dug pit.”

Police later confirmed the body to be that of Patricia Ruth Dent, 65, who reportedly lived with McKinnon.

“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,” police said in a press release. 

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

“Mr. McKinnon then bound her and wrapped her in trash bags before putting her in the previously dug pit,” police said.

Authorities believe McKinnon was nearly finished digging the grave when he set the shovel down, walked away and collapsed due to cardiac arrest. Dent’s cause of death was determined to be strangulation. 

“Autopsies were performed on both bodies, and the cause of death for Mr. McKinnon was confirmed to be a cardiac event,” according to officials. “Ms. Dent was found to have died by strangulation.”

The relationship between McKinnon and Dent is unknown.

Latest in Life