US man dies while burying woman he strangled

crime scene

A police tape at a crime scene. 

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

An American man died of a "cardiac event" in his backyard in South Carolina while burying a woman he strangled, local authorities said.

Officials responded to reports of an unresponsive man in the town of Trenton and found 60-year-old Joseph McKinnon dead, Edgefield County Sheriff Jody Rowland and County Coroner David Burnett said in a statement carried by local media Tuesday.

"McKinnon had no signs of trauma and natural causes were suspected," the statement said.

"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."

Dent was found bound and wrapped in trash bags in the pit. Autopsies confirmed the causes of both deaths.

Evidence and witness statements indicated that McKinnon attacked Dent in their home.


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