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Police Find Secret, Bloodstained Room After Ohio Woman Is Abducted And Killed

Authorities fear the suspect in Sierah Joughin's death may have killed others.

Posted on July 28, 2016, at 5:00 p.m. ET

Sierah Joughin.
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Sierah Joughin.

Police in Ohio investigating the abduction and killing of a 20-year-old woman discovered a secret room hidden at the back of a suspect's barn, with blood on the walls and restraints for holding people against their will, authorities said.

The grim discovery was made by officers investigating the death of Sierah Joughin, who disappeared while riding her bicycle in Fulton County, near Toledo, on July 19.

Her bike was discovered abandoned in a corn field in Amboy Township where deputies found evidence of a struggle, including crops knocked over, a screwdriver, and a motorcycle helmet covered with blood, according to a search warrant executed by the Fulton County Sheriff's Office.

The warrants, provided to BuzzFeed News by a Fulton County clerk, were made public after legal action by the Toledo Blade newspaper.

Joughin's body was found July 22 in a shallow grave roughly a mile away from the corn field where her bike was discovered.

According to authorities, as deputies interviewed neighbors, James Worley, 57, told them that at the time of Joughin's disappearance his motorcycle broke down and he pushed it into the corn field, where he found two bicycles. He said he lost his helmet and screwdriver at the scene.

James Worley at a court hearing.
Katie Rausch / The Blade

James Worley at a court hearing.

"Worley made the comments that he didn't steal anything or kill anyone. Interviewers observed what appeared to be fresh marks on the arms of Mr. Worley and what appeared to be bruising on his lower legs," Sgt. Matt Smithmyer wrote in a search warrant.

Cell phone records were also said to show that Worley had spent almost two hours at the scene of the abduction, and had been in the area where the body was discovered.

Deputies reportedly found Joughin's blood on Worley's motorcycle at his home, as well as zip tie restraints, a ski mask, and mace in his truck.

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At the back of Worley's barn, authorities allegedly found a hidden room, which contained a hidden carpet-lined freezer. They also found blood on the room's walls and in the freezer, according to the warrant.

Worley allegedly told police he had hidden cameras around his property.

Authorities also reported finding several pairs of "female panties and undergarments found in the property, one of which had blood on them," according to the warrants.

Worley had previously been convicted of abduction and ordered to see a therapist, who he allegedly told he "learned from each abduction he had done and the next one he was going to bury," Smithmeyer wrote.

"Worley fits the profile of a serial offender and could potentially have additional unknown victims who could have been kept at the above described location," Smithmeyer warned in a warrant. "[T]hese types of offenders will often keep trophies."

Worley is being held in the Correctional Center of Northwest Ohio on charges of abduction and aggravated murder.

CORRECTION

Joughin's body was found on July 22. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Worley's body was found.

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