Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio

Authorities have reason to believe Sierah may not be Worley's first victim

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August 04, 2016 07:15 PM

A search of murder suspect James Worley’s property has revealed no human remains, days after police said a missing woman’s body was found near his home and that he fit the profile of a “serial offender,” PEOPLE confirms.

Police had earlier speculated Worley may be connected to more crimes, citing his own background and after a search of his property recovered several disturbing items, including a blood-stained secret room, according to police documents previously obtained by PEOPLE.

Worley came under suspicion and was subsequently searched after being accused of abducting and murdering Sierah Joughin. The 20-year-old college student went missing on July 19, after she left her boyfriend to bike home.

Joughin’s body was found on July 22 in a shallow grave, about a mile west and a mile south of Worley’s property, according to police documents. Worley was arrested for abduction that same day and later charged with aggravated murder in Joughin’s death. Police allege a host of physical evidence, including his blood near where her bike was found, links Worley to her death.

Authorities will continue to investigate Worley and have not ruled out the possibility he is connected to more victims, an Ohio Attorney General’s spokesman tells PEOPLE.

In addition to finding the secret room, which held a bloody freezer, police have said they recovered human restraints, a camera and a meat hook, among other things, from Worley’s property.

Officials have not disclosed Joughin’s cause of death, but the search warrants and supporting affidavits obtained by PEOPLE show police were seeking firearms allegedly in Worley’s possession.

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From left: Sierah Joughin and Sheila Vaculik
Courtesy of Tara Ice

Worley previously pleaded guilty to abduction in a 1990 case also involving a female cyclist, according to court records obtained by PEOPLE.

“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 said 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.

Worley will next appear in court on Aug. 18. He has not yet entered a plea to his charges.

PEOPLE’s calls to Worley’s attorney, Mark Powers, have not been returned.

“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],” Sheila Vaculik, Joughin’s mother, told PEOPLE in a previous interview.

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