North Carolina Dad Charged With Rape After Confessing To Killing His 15-Year-Old Daughter

"This is a case where it's pure evil," said a rep for the Union County Sheriff's Office.

Joshua and Zaria Burgess
Photo Credit: Screenshot/WSOC

| August 22 2019,

6:44 pm

Updated (August 21, 2019): Joshua Lee Burgess will be charged with rape in addition to the murder charges for the death of his 15-year-old daughter, Zaria Joshalyn Burgess.

Joshua was initially charged with first-degree murder after he walked into a police station and admitted to killing Zaria in his home. Additional charges have been added, according to FOX 5 DC.

The new charges include statutory sex offense, kidnapping and sexual exploitation of a minor, all in the first-degree. Joshua was also charged with statutory rape of a person 15 years or younger. Details about the sexual assault have not been released.

The incident is shocking to Michael Sullivan, a neighbor, who has known Joshua since they were children.

"Actually, just knowing the guy just a little bit, playing football with him a couple of times, it's just crazy how sad and tragic that is," he told WCNC.

Joshua is currently in jail without bond. His next court appearance is in September.

Original: A North Carolina man walked into a police station and confessed to killing his 15-year-old daughter.

Joshua Lee Burgess went to a Union County police station on Sunday morning and confessed to killing his daughter, Zaria Joshalyn Burgess, in his home, according to WCNC.

“I just killed someone,” he allegedly told the first person he encountered in the office.

When the dispatcher tried to look him up in the computer system, Burgess told her she wouldn’t find any records.

The 32-year-old led law enforcement back to the crime scene where they discovered the body and other evidence of the crime.

"This is a case where it's pure evil. He readily admitted to what transpired," said Union County Sheriff's Office Chief Communications Officer Tony Underwood.

According to WSOC, investigators said Joshua strangled Zaria and slit her throat with a knife. A medical examiner determined Zaria died from a "sharp force injury to the neck."

Zaria was at the home to visit her dad for the weekend.


Joshua was booked on a first-degree murder charge and is being held without bond. He is also facing several other charges including kidnapping, statutory rape, statutory sex offense and sexual exploitation of a minor.

Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey admitted the crime disturbed him and his officers.

“The details of this murder are indescribable," Cathey said. "Every officer and detective involved in this case is feeling the effects of what happened to this child. There is no logical answer to explain why this man did what he is accused of doing. Our hearts and prayers are with Zaria’s mom and her family.”  

Zaria was a rising sophomore at Monroe High School. Dytaysha Wadsworth, her cousin, remembers her as a friendly young girl who wanted to make others happy.

"She was the type of kid to come in a room or in a house and say, ‘Hey everybody’ — just wanting to make everybody smile," Wadsworth told WSOC. “She was so young and nobody deserves to leave this world like that, especially by someone they thought was gonna protect them and be there for them."

Officials have not released a motive for the crime.

Joshua’s next court hearing is scheduled for next month.




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