Delta resident James Worley, charged last week with abduction in the disappearance case of 20-year-old Sierah Joughin, was charged Tuesday with one count of aggravated murder in Fulton County Eastern District Court.
The case has been transferred to Common Pleas Court, where Worley was scheduled to appear Wednesday for a pre-trial hearing.
A body positively identified Tuesday as Joughin was found by authorities July 22 on County Road 7. It was transported to the Lucas County Coroner’s Office for an autopsy.
Joughin was identified by fingerprint identification from the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). The coroner’s autopsy report is pending additional testing.
“We are aware that there are many rumors floating around social media and news media. I urge you to not read into them to make your own conclusions,” said Fulton County Sheriff Roy Miller in a prepared statement. “Consider Sierah and her family, put yourself in their situation. This investigation is not over, we are still following up on leads, conducting interviews and looking into all angles of the case.”
He said it is not a quick or easy process.
“There are things we will not be able to release at times to protect the integrity of the investigation,” said Miller. “Please allow us to follow the process and bring justice for Sierah Joughin and her family. Additional information may be released when it is appropriate and available.”
Joughin disappeared Tuesday, July 19, while riding her bicycle, and was last seen that evening at the intersection of County Road 6 and County Road S. The bicycle was found early the next morning in a cornfield on County Road 6.
The body was found about 6 p.m. Friday evening after hundreds of volunteers had scoured the area in search of Joughin, assisted by a helicopter, a plane, and a drone. Fulton County Sheriff Roy Miller said Worley has not spoken to authorities while in custody.
He remains held at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio without bond. His property at 10627 County Road 6, just five miles from the bicycle’s recovery, has been searched by local law enforcement and agents of the FBI and Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification.
His prior criminal record includes an abduction attempt of a Whitehouse woman in July 1990. Worley hit her bicycle with his pickup truck, knocking her into a ditch. He then struck her and attempted to handcuff her in his vehicle. The woman escaped, and was picked up by a passing motorcyclist.
Worley was convicted of the crime and spent several years in prison.
The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, BCI and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Cleveland Division, Toledo Resident Agency continue to work on Fulton County case. They encourage anyone with information that could help investigators to contact the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office at 419-335-4010 ext. 8 or the (BCI) at 1-855-BCI-OHIO (224-6446).