A South Carolina man died of a heart attack while attempting to bury the body of someone authorities say he killed.
Officers from the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office arrived at a home in Trenton on Saturday after receiving reports of an unresponsive man in his yard, Sheriff Jody Rowland and county coroner David Burnett said in a joint statement sent to USA TODAY.
Officers found 60-year-old Joseph Anthony McKinnon dead in his yard. But when investigating McKinnon’s death and notifying next of kin, authorities found the body of 65-year-old Patricia Ruth Dent “in a freshly dug pit.”
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Authorities suspected McKinnon died of natural causes and that Dent’s death was due to foul play, the statement said. Autopsies performed Monday confirmedMcKinnon’s death was from a cardiac event, while Dent died by strangulation.
“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,” the statement reads.
Authorities concluded after McKinnon strangled Dent, he bound and wrapped her in trash bags before putting her into a pit he had already dug. While McKinnon was filling the grave, he had the cardiac event, causing his death, authorities said.
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