The Most Shocking Crime News Stories Of 2022, From The Murder Of A Trophy Hunter To The Angry Vatican Tourist

Published December 26, 2022
Updated January 9, 2023

A Man In South Carolina Murdered His Girlfriend, Then Died Of A Heart Attack While Burying Her Body

Joseph Mckinnon And Patricia Dent

Facebook/CanvaJoseph McKinnon and Patricia Dent

In May, police received a 911 call reporting an “unresponsive man” lying in his yard in Trenton, South Carolina. When they arrived, however, they were surprised to find not one body — but two.

Joseph McKinnon was indeed lying in his front yard. He was dead, it seemed, of a heart attack he’d suffered while filling in a large pit.

Oddly, investigators were unable to locate McKinnon’s girlfriend, Patricia Dent. It was only after finding blood in the couple’s home and hearing reports from Dent’s coworkers that she had uncharacteristically failed to show up for work that police began to question what McKinnon had actually been burying in his yard.

Evidently, the answer was Patricia Dent.

Witness statements and evidence gathered from the scene painted a clearer picture of what police believed happened: McKinnon attacked Dent in their home, bound her, wrapped her in trash bags, and dumped her in the pit, which he was in the middle of filling when his heart gave out.

“He was feverishly covering the pit, and so we just kind of put things together,” Sheriff Jody Rowland said. “He attacked her, killed her, put her in the pit, and he died covering her up. Basically, this case is over.”

Austin Harvey
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Austin Harvey has also had work published with Discover Magazine, Giddy, and Lucid covering topics on mental health, sexual health, history, and sociology. He holds a bachelor's degree in screenwriting (widely considered to be a bad move) from Point Park University.