Officials: Suspect in Ohio Student’s Murder Had Hidden Room in Barn

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
July 29, 2016 Updated: July 29, 2016

TOLEDO, Ohio—Search warrants show investigators found a hidden room outfitted with restraints inside a barn belonging to an Ohio man who’s accused of abducting and killing a college student.

The documents first reported by The Blade newspaper in Toledo after it went to court seeking their release say the secret room also had a carpet-lined freezer with blood inside.

Authorities have charged 57-year-old James Worley with aggravated murder and abduction in the death of 20-year-old University of Toledo student Sierah Joughin (JAW’-gihn).

She disappeared a week ago while riding her bicycle.

Worley’s attorney declined to comment Thursday.

Worley was convicted of abducting a woman in 1990 near Toledo and spent three years in prison. Since his arrest Friday, investigators have been looking into the possibility of additional victims.

“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,” Sgt. Matthew Smithmyer of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department wrote. He added that “based upon his knowledge and experience that these types of offenders will often keep trophies,” the Blade reported.

“Our family is in complete shock and utterly lost,” Tara Shaffer Ice, Joughin’s aunt, told People. “Right now we are overwhelmed with grief and planning something [Sierah’s funeral] that seems unimaginable.”

Her family tried to remain optimistic during the initial search. “We are struggling and trying to stay hopeful. We just want her to come home safe and [whoever has her] to just leave her where she is and let us have her back,” Ice said.

Epoch Times contributed to this report.