Sheriff’s office, FBI digging on former Worley property

Staff report

The FBI is assisting the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office on Monday with excavation of the former property of James Worley in rural Delta.

An FBI spokesperson at the Cleveland office confirmed that the agency is assisting the sheriff’s office at 10627 County Road 6. “It’s an ongoing investigation. We can’t provide any additional information,” she said.

The spokesperson would not confirm whether the excavation being conducted was a search for a body. “We can’t provide further comment; it really gets into a gray area for us when it comes to prosecution,” she said. “It’s ongoing.”

A news release from the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office offers little additional information, saying, in part, “The FBI’s Evidence Response Team is on scene to assist in collection of any evidence if there is any located.”

Worley, 61, is currently sitting on death row at the Chillocothe Correctional Institution for the murder of 20-year-old Metamora resident Sierah Joughin. Joughin disappeared during an evening bicycle ride on July 19, 2016, on County Road 6. Her body was discovered in a shallow grave in a cornfield three days later.

Joughin’s mother, Sheila Vaculik, won the property in a civil suit against Worley. She had structures on the land razed, including Worley’s house and a barn where Joughin’s murder is suspected to have taken place.

Worley’s attorneys, Gary Crim and Andrew Avellano, filed a reply brief with the Ohio Supreme Court on July 15, stating the evidence presented at his trial was insufficient to lead to his convictions and death sentence. The brief maintains Worley is therefore eligible to receive a new trial.

Staff report