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Ohio Student Sierah Joughin Choked to Death on Plastic Gag, Wasn't Sexually Assaulted: Autopsy

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Sierah Joughin, the slain Ohio college student whose body was found days after she went missing in July, choked to death on a “large plastic gag,” according to a newly released autopsy report.

The report, obtained by PEOPLE, reveals wrenching details about Joughin’s last moments: She died over a period of minutes after the gag was placed in her mouth and obstructed her breathing.

The gag was described as “a large yellow oval plastic device,” 3 inches long and 2 inches wide, according to the report. And one of her teeth was chipped.

The 20-year-old was found in a shallow grave in a cornfield, hogtied, with her wrists handcuffed behind her back and bound at the ankles with rope and her ankles taped together, according to the report. There was no physical evidence that Joughin was sexually assaulted.

Her remains were discovered on July 22, three days after she was reported missing and hours after police arrested James Worley, 57, of Delta and charged him with abduction in the case.

Worley was later charged with murder in Jougin’s death. Her body was found about a mile west and a mile south of Worley’s property, police have said.

From left: Sierah Joughin, Cathy Shaffer and Tara Ice
Courtesy of Tara Ice
Joughin was reported missing in Lyons by her family on July 19, after she didn’t return from a bike ride to her home with boyfriend Josh Kolasinski, who was riding a motorcycle but who turned back during their journey.

In a previous interview with PEOPLE, Sheila Vaculik, Joughin’s mother, said she knew something was wrong the moment Joughin didn’t answer her phone.

“In my heart I know that God had taken Sierah [and] that whatever [the suspect] may have done to her body, he did not do to her [soul],” Vaculik said.

What happened to Joughin from the time of her abduction to the time of her death remains a mystery. Police have previously said her bike was discovered in a cornfield, at the scene of an apparent struggle.

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During a search of Worley’s property, authorities allegedly discovered a secret “room” that had bloody walls, a bloody freezer and restraints, “for holding humans against their will,” according to police documents obtained by PEOPLE. Zip tie restraints, a ski mask and Mace were found in Worley’s truck, police allege, further stating that plastic sheeting, ropes, chains and a meat hook were also found on his property, among many other items.

Worley has a history with abducting women: In 1990, he pleaded guilty to attacking and abducting a woman who was riding a bike, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE. He was released on parole in 1993.

James Worley
Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio
In the search warrant documents obtained by PEOPLE, authorities described Worley as a possible “serial offender.”

“Worley fits the profile of a serial offender and could potentially have additional victims who could have been kept at [his property],” a sheriff’s sergeant alleged in one search warrant affidavit. That affidavit sought to recover a wide range of possessions from Worley’s property, including “documents in reference to prior criminal acts, evidence of prior abductions, instruments of sexual deviation, journals” and more. Authorities later said no human remains were recovered from his property.

Worley, who ran a small engine repair shop out of his home, lived with his mother and brother, neighbors tell PEOPLE.

He is being held without bond in the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio. He has not yet entered a plea to his charges and his attorney, Mark Powers, has not responded to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Worley will next appear in court on Aug. 18.