The Ohio man accused of murdering a 20-year-old college student allegedly kept a secret “room” on his property that had bloody walls, a bloody freezer and restraints, “for holding human against their will,” according to police documents obtained by PEOPLE.
Search warrants and supporting affidavits paint the clearest picture yet of what police believe happened to Sierah Joughin, who was reported missing near Lyons the night of July 19 as she was biking home. Police allege a bloody scene at a cornfield, Worley’s own statements and a host of physical evidence recovered from his property link him to Joughin’s death.
Her body was found July 22 in a shallow grave, about a mile west and a mile south of Worley’s property, according to police documents.
Officials have not disclosed her cause of death, though the warrants obtained by PEOPLE show police were seeking firearms allegedly in Worley’s possession that were possibly connected to the death.
The Alleged Evidence
Worley, 57, came to suspicion after he allegedly told police he was in the same area as Joughin’s last known location. Police allege he admitted to being in the same cornfield where her bike was found, according to documents.
Worley allegedly told police he had been riding his motorcycle in the area that day when it broke down, after which he pushed it into the field where he saw two bicycles – though deputies only found one, according to documents.
In one search warrant affidavit, a Fulton County sheriff’s sergeant alleges, “[Worley] admitted he picked up one of the bike and that his fingerprints would likely be on the bike. He also stated he lost his helmet, screwdriver, sunglasses, and fuses at the location. These items were precisely what items were found on the scene, and it was not made public that any of these items were found.
“The helmet found on the scene, that Mr. Worley claimed was his, was found covered in human blood. He made the comments that he didn’t steal anything or kill anyone.
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“Interviewers observed what appeared to be fresh marks on the arms of Mr. Worley and what appeared to be bruising on his lower legs.”
Additionally, the helmet and one pair of sunglasses found in the cornfield allegedly had Worley’s DNA on them, according to documents, and Joughin’s blood was found on his motorcycle.
Zip tie restraints, a ski mask and Mace were found in Worley’s truck, the documents allege, which further state that plastic sheeting, ropes, chains and a meat hook were also found on his property, among many other items.
The location information recovered from Worley’s cell phone also showed that around the time Joughin went missing, he allegedly spent almost two hours at the scene of her abduction – though the documents do not specify if police believe the cornfield to be that place. He also allegedly spent time in the area where her body was found, according to the phone information cited in police documents.
Worley was arrested in the early hours of July 22 and Joughin’s remains were discovered soon after, authorities have said. Originally charged with abduction, Worley was later charged with aggravated murder in Joughin’s death.
He is being held without bond in the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio. He has not yet entered a plea and his attorney, Mark Powers, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Worley will next appear in court on Aug. 18.
A ‘Serial Offender’?
Worley previously pleaded guilty to abduction in a 1990 case also involving a female cyclist, according to court records obtained by PEOPLE, and the search warrant documents show police suspect he may be a “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 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 also allegedly told police he had hidden cameras on his property and police found one such camera, according to documents.
Worley saw a therapist, as required by a prior abduction conviction, according to the documents. There he told the therapist that, in the sheriff’s sergeant’s words, “he had learned from each abduction he had done and the next one he was going to bury.”
Joughin’s family – who spoke to PEOPLE of her work ethic and her love of her family, as well as her plans to study abroad in the fall – say they are devastated by her loss.
“Our family is in complete shock and utterly lost,” Tara Shaffer Ice, Joughin’s aunt, told PEOPLE via text message earlier this week. “Right now we are overwhelmed with grief and planning something [Sierah’s funeral] that seems unimaginable.”