Sierah Joughin died of asphyxiation from a plastic gag placed in her mouth, according to a final autopsy report released Tuesday by the Lucas County Coroner’s Office.
The report says Joughin died within minutes of having a plastic gag placed in her mouth sometime after being abducted during a bicycle ride the evening of July 19. The time of death was placed at about 9 p.m. July 22, the time her body was discovered by authorities in a shallow grave on County Road 7.
The Metamora resident was also found in a hog-tied position with her wrists handcuffed and roped behind her back. The rope extended to her ankles, which were also bound with rope and taped together.
There were no signs of sexual assault, and the report does not mention signs of defensive wounds on Joughin’s body.
Joughin’s disappearance prompted a search by ground and air lead by the FBI, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, and other area law enforcement agencies. Hundreds of volunteer searchers fanned out over dozens of acres until she was found three days later.
James D. Worley, 57, of rural Delta was charged with one count each of abduction and aggravated murder in the case. He is being held without bond at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio near Stryker, and is due for a preliminary hearing in Fulton County Common Pleas Court on Aug. 18 at 1 p.m.
Authorities searched Worley’s County Road 6 property but found no human remains. They did discover a room in his barn hidden under bales of hay and containing restraints, a freezer containing blood, and several pairs of women’s underwear, one stained with blood. They also found cameras placed throughout the property.
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.