Friday’s “20/20” episode will examine the case of Sierah Joughin, an Ohio woman who was abducted and murdered just half a mile from her home in a small, close-knit community.
According to ABC, the episode, titled “She Was Almost Home,” will uncover details about the case, including the discovery of the “barn of horrors” that led to the arrest of her killer.
Who was Sierah Joughin?
Sierah Joughin was 20 years old when she was abducted on July 19, 2016. She was a student at the University of Toledo and was studying business, per Justice for Sierah.
Her boyfriend, Josh Kolasinski, who was the last person to see her alive, told ABC13 she had a gift for lifting spirits.
Her family members remember her as a “vivacious” and fun young woman in a trailer for the episode.
“She was the life of the party,” Joughin’s friend Kelsie Langenderfer said.
What happened to Sierah Joughin?
Joughin and Kolasinski went for a bike ride on July 19, 2016, in their home of Fulton County, Ohio. According to Crime Junkie, the two parted ways in order to make it to their respective homes, but Kolasinski grew worried later in the day when he tried to contact Joughin and couldn’t reach her.
Her family alerted police, who began searching the cornfields where Kolasinski had last seen Joughin and found her bike and signs of a struggle, per ABC.
What did James Worley do to Sierah Joughin?
Investigators began looking at local violent felons and decided to question local resident James Worley because of his history of abduction, per Crime Junkie.
When authorities searched Worley’s property, they found what ABC calls a “barn of horrors.” CNN and ABC report the barn had a hidden area with zip ties, mace, women’s lingerie and a bloody freezer.
Worley was arrested and charged with her abduction on July 22, 2016, per ABC. Later that day, Sierah Joughin’s body was found buried in a shallow grave in a cornfield near Worley’s home. He was charged with and later convicted of aggravated murder.
Worley’s execution date is set for May 20, 2025, per WTOL.
What is Sierah’s Law?
After her death, Joughin’s family created Justice for Sierah, an organization dedicated to preventing assaults and abductions via self-defense education.
They also campaigned for Sierah’s Law, which was signed into law as Senate Bill 231 in the Ohio state legislature in 2018, per Justice for Sierah. Sierah’s Law created a violent offender database that law enforcement and residents can use to identify violent felons in their area.
Joughin’s family continues to campaign for the law to be passed in all 50 states.
“The man who murdered Sierah was a repeat violent offender who lived just miles from her home, but Sierah’s family never knew a predator lived so close,” the Justice for Sierah website says. “(Sierah) was robbed of fulfilling (her) dreams on earth because of preventable violence and a system that failed to keep (her) safe.”
“She Was Almost Home” will air Friday at 8 p.m. MDT on ABC and will be available for streaming Saturday on Hulu.