Man Walks Into Sheriff's Office To Report That He Murdered His 15-Year-Old Daughter, Authorities Say

There was an audible gasp in the courtroom when prosecutors described how Zaria Burgess was strangled and then had her throat slit, allegedly by her father Joshua Lee Burgess.

By Gina Tron
Digital Original
Man Walks Into Sheriff’s Office, Reports He Murdered His Daughter, Authorities Say

A North Carolina man walked into a local sheriff’s department on Sunday to report that he murdered his own teenage daughter, who was visiting him for the weekend, authorities say.

Joshua Lee Burgess, 32, of Union County showed up at the Union County Sheriff’s Office Sunday morning, walked into the lobby “and informed a dispatcher he was there to turn himself in,” according to the sheriff’s department.

“Once the dispatcher began inquiring about his name and searching for possible arrest warrants, Burgess told her she would not find his name and that he had just killed someone,” the department stated. “Burgess gave further details including the address where the victim was located as well as the victim’s identity.”

Joshua Lee Burgess

The victim was his own daughter. She had been visiting Burgess for the weekend.  

The father made his first court appearance Monday and there was a collective gasp in the room when prosecutors described how she died, according to WSOC-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina.

They claim Burgess strangled 15-year-old Zaria Burgess and then slit her throat.

It is not clear what led up to the murder.

Zaria has been described as loving and caring.

"She was the type of kid to come in a room come or in a house and say, ‘Hey everybody’ -- just wanting to make everybody smile," her cousin Dytaysha Wadsworth told WSOC.

Burgess is being held without bond on a first-degree murder charge. It’s not clear if he has a lawyer who can speak on his behalf at this time.

He’s due back in court next month.

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