A man who strangled his girlfriend died of a heart attack while burying her body in the backyard, investigators say.
The body of Joseph McKinnon was found in the small town of Trenton, South Carolina, on Saturday after neighbors reported an unconscious man.
Paramedics were called but were unable to revive him.
As sheriff’s deputies investigated the 60-year-old’s death, they found a body wrapped in trash bags in a newly dug hole.
It turned out to be his partner, Patricia Dent, 65, a statement from the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office said.
An autopsy revealed she had been strangled, and neighbors recalled seeing McKinnon digging a hole in the yard the day before.
McKinnon died of a heart attack, according to an examination of his body.
Authorities said it looked like he had almost finished filling the grave when he put down his spade, walked away and collapsed.
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The two people who died lived in the same house on Tanglewood Drive, authorities said.
Ms Dent’s twin sister, Pamela Briggs, told Fox Carolina: “I would say a nightmare, and I want to wake up, and it’s a dream. I know it’s not.
“That’s reality and life, and a big part of me is gone, and now I’m going to have to live with that.”
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