A South Carolina man accused of killing his wife seemingly suffered a fatal heart attack while he tried to bury her body, according to authorities.
Deputies with the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office responded to a home in Trenton on Saturday to investigate reports of “an unresponsive male lying in his yard,” Sheriff Jody Rowland said in a news release. When they arrived on the scene, they discovered 60-year-old Joseph McKinnon on the ground near a freshly dug pit.
Medical crews were called and they attempted to revive him, but to no avail. McKinnon was pronounced dead on the scene, WJBF reported.
Upon searching the property further, deputies uncovered a second body, partially buried and not far from where McKinnon dropped in his backyard. The remains were identified as 65-year-old Patricia Dent, who also lived at the home.
According to a coroner’s report obtained by WJBF on Monday, McKinnon died from natural causes — specifically, cardiac arrest — while Dent’s cause of death was listed as strangulation.
Upon further investigation, deputies suspect Dent was the victim of foul play carried out by her husband. According to evidence collected from their home, it appears McKinnon killed his wife and then bound and wrapped her in trash bags before putting her in a previously dug pit.
He covered about half of it before suffering a deadly heart attack, police said.