A 32-year-old North Carolina man showed up at the local sheriff’s office Sunday morning and admitted that he’d just killed his 15-year-old daughter, say authorities.
Just before 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Joshua Lee Burgess walked into the lobby of the Union County Sheriff’s Office and told a dispatcher “he was there to turn himself in,” according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office.
The dispatcher asked for his name so she could search for any possible arrest warrants, but before she could go any further, he told her his name wasn’t in the system because “he had just killed someone,” the release says.
After telling the dispatcher he had allegedly killed his daughter, Zaria Burgess, he told them her body was still at his house.
Deputies raced to the man’s house and found the teen dead inside the home.
Burgess was arrested and charged with murder. He is being held at the Union County Jail. He has not yet entered a plea and is scheduled to return to court next month.
Attempts to reach the public defender assigned to him were not immediately successful.
Police did not initially say how the girl was killed. But on Monday, during Burgess’ preliminary hearing in court, those present let out a “collective gasp” when officials revealed that he allegedly strangled his daughter before slitting her throat, local station WSOC reports.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
Officials have not yet released any details about his alleged motive.
“This is just a case where it’s pure evil,” Tony Underwood, chief communications officer for the UCSO told WSCO.
The alleged murder took place when the teen was visiting her father at his Union County home over the weekend, officials said in the release.
As homicide detectives continue to investigate, her family is grappling with the loss of the teen, who was known to be gentle and sweet.
“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 WSCO.
“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,” Wadsworth said.