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SC man dies of heart attack while burying girlfriend he strangled to death

Police car lights (Dreamstime/TNS)
May 11, 2022

A man who allegedly strangled his girlfriend to death later suffered a heart attack and died while burying her in their South Carolina yard on Saturday.

According to Fox Carolina, Sheriff Jody Rowland of the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that Joseph McKinnon, 60, killed Patricia Dent, 65.

Law enforcement arrived on scene after receiving reports of “an unresponsive male lying in his yard.” Medical crews attempted to revive the male individual identified as McKinnon.

While investigating the scene, deputies discovered Dent’s body in a hole that was just recently dug up.

Officials said McKinnon had a “cardiac event” while burying Dent after attacking and killing his victim in their home. An autopsy report confirmed she 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 release stated, as reported by Yahoo News. “Mr. McKinnon then bound her and wrapped her in trash bags before putting her in the previously dug pit.”

Dent’s twin sister said her family was “shocked” by the ordeal.

“I didn’t see any of that coming,” said Pamela Briggs.

“Everybody who ever met her liked her. She was just full of energy. She was 65 and working,” Briggs continued, adding that her sister didn’t show up for work on the day of her alleged murder.

“[Her employer] wanted to know if I knew where my sister was, and I said, ‘No I have no idea,’ and then it just started to play out from there,” Briggs said. “I would say a nightmare, and I want to wake up, and it’s a dream. I know it’s not. This is reality and life, and a big part of me is gone, and now I’m going to have to live with that.”

Elsewhere, a man admitted to killing his South Carolina girlfriend in a Tennessee cabin over the weekend.

Police discovered the body of Shelby Lynn Booth after receiving reports of a shooting inside a cabin in the 300 block of Caney Creek Road near the Gatlinburg Spur, ABC 6 reported.

“A weapon was found in the holster in the bedroom beside the bed on the nightstand,” the arrest warrant states. “Four shell casings were collected and one projectile was also found that matched the caliber of the firearm in the bedroom.”