On May 6, 2022, Joseph Anthony McKinnon, 60, strangled his girlfriend, Patricia Ruth Dent, 65. While burying her body, McKinnon suffered a heart attack and died.
According to news outlets, a neighbor saw Joseph McKinnon digging a hole for about 10 days. McKinnon told his neighbor the hole was for a water trough for his garden.
On May 7, 2022, the neighbor saw McKinnon lying facedown in the hole and called 911 around 10:00 a.m. When police arrived on scene, they found McKinnon deceased. He did not have any obvious trauma to his body; police assumed his death was most likely due to natural causes.
Police then attempted to locate the next of kin to tell them about McKinnon. They learned he had lived with his girlfriend, Patricia Dent. Patricia had not shown up to work and could not be contacted. Police went to the couple’s apartment to investigate.
When police searched the house, it was obvious it had recently been cleaned with bleach, though officers were still able to find blood. The blood would be a DNA match for Patricia. Officers checked out the dirt pit where they found McKinnon.
Buried in the dirt pit, police found multiple garbage bags. Inside was a female body who had been bound. DNA would confirm the remains were Patricia. The cause of death was determined to be strangulation. The manner was ruled a homicide.
Police believe McKinnon hit Patricia in the face and strangled her. They theorize he then bound her body, placed her in two garbage bags, and drove her remains to the hole. While burying Patricia’s remains, he suffered a heart attack.