EDGEFIELD COUNTY, S.C. – Law enforcement authorities in South Carolina believe a man suffered a fatal heart attack while digging a grave and burying a woman he had just killed by strangulation.
Edgefield County deputies found the body of Joseph Anthony McKinnon, 60, in his yard on Saturday. During their investigation they also located the body of Patricia Ruth Dent, 65, in a “freshly dug pit.” The pair lived together in the home, reported The State.
An investigation by the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office revealed that McKinnon attacked Dent in their residence. Moreover, officials said Dent’s autopsy showed that she died by strangulation, according to the news outlet.
Sheriff Jody Rowland said that McKinnon was in the process of disposing Dent’s body when the scene was discovered by deputies, the Washington Examiner reported.
After killing Dent, McKinnon “bound her and wrapped her in trash bags before putting her in the previously dug pit,” the sheriff said.
After digging a pit for Dent’s body, McKinnon suffered a “cardiac event,” killing him, according to his autopsy, the sheriff said.
The sheriff’s office collected evidence at the scene and obtained statements from witnesses that allowed investigators to establish a timeline and piece together the homicide and subsequent attempt to hide it on Saturday, News 8 reported.
Dent’s sister, Pamela Briggs, spoke to FOX Carolina on Tuesday and said she was in disbelief after learning of her sister’s fate.
“I’m shocked. I didn’t see any of that coming,” Briggs said. “Everybody who ever met her liked her. She was just full of energy. She was 65 and working.”