The Father Tortured and Raped His Daughter for Twenty-Two Hours, Then He Slit Her Throat

The tragic case of Zaria Burgess

Zaria Joshalyn Burgess - image from
Zaria Joshalyn Burgess — image from

It was approximately 9:24 a.m.

Instead of a 911 call, the police received something different. Joshua walked into the Union County Sheriff’s Office. He headed towards a dispatcher and told her that he wanted to turn himself in.

The dispatcher asked for his name so she could look up possible warrants. Joseph told her that she wasn’t going to find anything. But he had something to tell her. “I’ve just killed someone.”, Joshua confessed.

“In a heartbreaking crime, a fifteen-year-old girl is dead, and police say her father confessed to killing her.” — News reporter

Zaria Was a Fifteen-Year-Old Girl

Zaria Joshalyn Burgess was fifteen-year-old.

The teenager was born to Akisha Pope and Joshua Lee Burgess. She was an ever-smiling sweet, and happy girl.

Zaria was about to become a sophomore at Monroe High School. She was an active member of the school’s marching band. Her parents had separated, so she lived with her mom in Union County, North Carolina, USA.

Zaria’s dad seemed to be involved in his daughter’s life. The two of them were very close.

Joshua referred to Zaria as his mini-me. He constantly bragged about her. How much he loved her, and how he wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world.

“I love this little angel more than anything. Nothing beats quality time with my daughter.” — Joshua

Zaria Visited Joshua From Time To Time

Zaria Joshalyn Burgess — image from

Zaria regularly visited her father’s house in Monroe.

So, on August 17th, 2019, she visited his father for the weekend as usual. The next day, Joshua walked into the Union County Sheriff’s Office. And he told the dispatcher that he wanted to turn himself in.

The dispatcher asked for his name.

She wanted to look up possible warrants, but Joshua stopped her before she could continue. He told her that his name wasn’t in the system. And he had just killed someone.

Joshua gave the dispatcher details of the crime and where to find the body, including the victim’s name. It turned out that the victim was his daughter, Zaria. The police rushed to the crime scene to find Zaria’s lifeless body.

An autopsy revealed that Zaria was strangled. Then, after strangulation, her throat was slit.

The worst part was that her father did more disgusting things to her. Joshua tortured and sexually violated Zaria for twenty-two hours before killing her.

Why Did Joshua Do That to His Own Flesh And Blood?

Joshua Lee Burgess with his daughter Zaria - image from
Joshua Lee Burgess with his daughter Zaria — image from

It’s speculated that Joshua was a white supremacist and that his daughter’s murder was a ritual murder.

That’s because of Joshua’s alleged Facebook activities. Joshua liked pages known to be anti-black. And he followed a page that possibly belonged to a satanic organization.

Meanwhile, Joshua had posted some pretty disturbing content on his page. His post stated;

“I really like cutting people. Oops, I meant things. I like cutting things.”

According to Joshua, he killed his daughter to get back at Zaria’s mother because they didn’t get along. However, investigators believe Joshua is pure evil. And his main motive was lust and control.

The Aftermath

Joshua was charged with capital murder along with other felony charges.

He pleaded not guilty. Nonetheless, he was found guilty of one count of first-degree murder, one count of statutory rape, one count of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, and three counts of statutory sex offenses.

Joshua was sentenced to death by lethal injection for torturing, raping, and brutally murdering his daughter.

He also received an additional minimum of seventy-six years behind bars.

“The details of this murder are indescribable.

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.

Prayers are with Zaria’s mom and her family.” — Sheriff Eddie Cathey

Sources:, anna solves,