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Man raped, stabbed teen 86 times after meeting on Snapchat, Gwinnett DA says

Alexis Stevens, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in News & Features

A man was sentenced to 30 years in prison for raping and stabbing a 15-year-old girl he met through Snapchat, the Gwinnett County district attorney said Friday.

Zachary Iona, 22, of Flowery Branch, pleaded guilty to rape, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, statutory rape, child molestation and possession of a knife during the commission of a felony, DA Patsy Austin-Gatson said. Iona was sentenced to 30 years, followed by five years of parole, and must register as a sex offender.

“This should be a warning to our young people to beware,” Austin-Gatson said in a statement. “As this case demonstrates, not everyone you meet on social media has your best interest at heart.”

The teenage girl met Iona on the social media app in February 2022 and agreed to let him visit her at a home in Hoschton.

Iona arrived with duct tape, rope and a knife, according to investigators. He bound the girl’s hands, covered her mouth and raped her.

“During the sexual assault, he began stabbing the teen in her face, torso, neck, legs and arms,” the DA’s office said. “He then fled.”


The teen crawled to her phone and called for help. At the hospital, doctors found at least 86 stab and cut wounds on her body. She had multiple surgeries and physical therapy and can now walk again, the DA said.

Investigators were able to quickly identify Iona: his photo was on the girl’s Snapchat. Police found duct tape, rope and blood inside his car, the DA’s office said.

Iona was arrested Feb. 11, 2022, and has remained in the Gwinnett jail, booking records show.

During the plea deal, the teen told the courtroom she recently graduated from high school and knows she is lucky to be alive, Austin-Gatson said.

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