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US man strangles girlfriend, dies of heart attack while burying her body in backyard

An American man who strangled his girlfriend died of a heart attack while burying her body in his backyard, police said.

Joseph McKinnon murdered his live-in girlfriend, then died while burying her body.

Call it divine retribution, karma or just deserts. An American man who strangled his girlfriend dropped dead while burying her body in his backyard, the Daily Mail reported.

South Carolina’s Edgefield County police found 60-year-old Joseph McKinnon unresponsive in the yard of his home in Trenton town on Saturday. While investigating his death, a second body was found buried in a freshly dug pit. This was the corpse of his live-in partner Patricia Dent, 65.

Police said Dent had “died by foul play”. After gathering evidence and witness testimonies, a timeline of the crime was built, which led investigators to believe that McKinnon attacked and strangled Dent in their home.

He then dug a trench in the yard, wrapped Dent’s body in plastic trash bags and tossed it in the pit. While covering the pit, McKinnon had a “cardiac event”, causing his death, police said. Autopsy revealed he showed no signs of trauma and had died of natural causes.

Authorities said they decided to inspect the freshly filled pit in the garden after they were contacted by Patricia Dent’s twin sister, Pamela Briggs, who said she was not responding to calls and texts. A co-worker had called Briggs after Dent failed to turn up for work.

A worried Briggs dialled 911 and told cops about her sister, who had seemingly vanished. Police then dug up the pit in McKinnon’s yard and found Dent’s bound and wrapped body in it.

Briggs said she was devastated by the loss of her twin sister. “I didn’t see any of that coming. Everybody who ever met her liked her. She was just full of energy… a big part of me is gone, and now I’m going to have to live with that,” she told reporters.

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