Crime

Sheriff adds rape charges against NC man they say admitted to killing his own daughter

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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.
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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

A Union County man faces additional charges of statutory rape and kidnapping, two days after authorities say he confessed to killing his 15-year-old daughter at his home Sunday morning.

Joshua Lee Burgess, 32, was already charged with murder. The Union County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday charged him with statutory rape, first-degree statutory sex offense, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, according to a news release.

“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,” Sheriff Eddie Cathey said in a statement. “There is no logical answer to explain why this man did what he is accused of doing.”

Authorities said Burgess remains in the Union County Jail under no bond.

Burgess walked into the sheriff’s office lobby at 9:24 a.m. Sunday and told a dispatcher he was there to turn himself in, according to the sheriff’s office.

The dispatcher asked for his name and started to search through active arrest warrants, but Burgess said he didn’t have an arrest warrant.

Instead, he said he had just killed his daughter, Zaria Joshalyn Burgess, at his home in a neighborhood near Wesley Chapel, according to the sheriff’s office. He talked about where investigators could find her body, according to the sheriff’s office.

Deputies responded to Burgess’ home in the 5100 block of Hampton Meadows Road, where they found the girl dead inside, said spokesman Tony Underwood.

The medical examiner told detectives her death was caused by “a sharp force injury to the neck.”

She had been visiting Burgess’ home over the weekend, according to the sheriff’s office.

Burgess appeared in court for the first time Monday morning, and officials there said he strangled his daughter and cut her throat, WSOC reported.

Investigators seized a variety of items from the home and are continuing to investigate, according to the sheriff’s office. The killing is believed to be an isolated incident.

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