TRENTON, SC (WJBF)- Officials in South Carolina say a man murdered a woman and was burying her body when he died of a heart attack.
On Saturday, deputies with the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Department were called to a home in Trenton, South Carolina after neighbors spotted an unresponsive man lying in his yard.
When deputies arrived, they found the body of 60-year-old Joseph Anthony McKinnon.
Officials say McKinnon had no signs of trauma to his body, so investigators suspected that he died of natural causes.
“While investigating the death and making notifications to the next of kin, a second body, was located in a freshly dug pit. Patricia Ruth Dent, 65, of the same address appeared to have died by foul play,” the department said in a statement.
On Monday, autopsies were performed on both bodies. The cause of death for McKinnon was confirmed to be a cardiac event. Dent died by strangulation.
As a result, the Edgefield County Sheriff says evidence shows Joseph McKinnon strangled Patricia Dent inside the home and was burying her in the backyard when he died of a heart attack.
Investigators say evidence leads them to believe that McKinnon attacked Dent while they were inside their home.
“Mr. McKinnon then bound her and wrapped her in trash bags before putting her in the previously dug pit. The pit was then partially filled in by Mr. McKinnon. While covering the pit, Mr. McKinnon had the cardiac event, causing his death,” the statement read.