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Man Dies of Heart Attack While Allegedly Burying Girlfriend He Murdered

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Mann suffering from heart attack | Image by Africa Studio

In South Carolina, a man was apparently in the middle of burying his girlfriend on Saturday when he died of a heart attack. However, he was not attending a funeral service — rather, he was allegedly digging her a grave on his property, and police believe he was the one who murdered her, WSB-TV reports.

On May 7, sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of an unresponsive person in the yard of a house approximately 20 miles from the South Carolina-Georgia border.


The man was Joseph Anthony McKinnon, 60. The National Post reported that a neighbor found McKinnon and tried performing CPR before calling emergency services. Deputies pronounced him dead at the scene.

Investigators determined that McKinnon owned the home and that foul play was not a factor in his death. An autopsy later determined McKinnon died of a heart attack.

However, during the investigation of the scene, officers also found the body of Patricia Dent, McKinnon’s girlfriend, on the property.

Officers discovered Dent’s body inside trash bags in a grave McKinnon had apparently been digging. According to an autopsy obtained by FOX News, she died by strangulation.

Officers allege McKinnon assaulted Dent in the home, proceeded to wrap her body in the trash bags, and placed her in a freshly dug grave. Apparently, while filling the grave with dirt, McKinnon put down his shovel and began walking away when he suffered a heart attack and died on the spot.

Dent was an employee at Mount Vintage Golf Course. When she failed to appear for her shift that day, a coworker called her several times and left text messages. When Dent did not reply, the coworker called Dent’s twin sister, Pamela Briggs.

Briggs told reporters, “She 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 she did not have any reason to think that something so horrible could happen to her sister.

“Everybody who ever met her liked her. She was just full of energy. She was 65 and working,” Briggs said.     

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