Man Has Fatal Heart Attack While Burying Body of Girlfriend He Strangled: Cops

Strangled girlfriend
Patricia Dent was strangled by her live-in boyfriend, police said.Facebook

The 60-year-old man had strangled his girlfriend and was digging a hole to bury her, police said.

A South Carolina man killed his live-in girlfriend and then dropped dead after digging a grave for her body in their backyard, police said.

Joseph McKinnon, 60, strangled Patricia Dent, 65, inside their home and was shoveling dirt onto her corpse when he suffered a fatal heart attack, according to the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office.

Over the weekend, deputies went to the house after receiving reports of “an unresponsive male lying in his yard,” Sheriff Jody Rowland said in a news release. 

Initially, investigators found no suspicious evidence and thought McKinnon had died of natural causes in his yard. Then they looked in the pit.

There, deputies discovered Dent's body wrapped in plastic garbage bags, the sheriff said. Autopsies determined McKinnon had died from "a cardiac event" and Dent died by strangulation, authorities said.

“Everybody who ever met her liked her. She was just full of energy. She was 65 and working,” Dent's twin sister, Pamela Briggs, told WRDW-TV. "A big part of me is gone, and now I’m going to have to live with that,” she said

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