TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A man accused of abducting and killing a college student riding her bicycle chased a pair of boys on their bikes two years ago because he thought they looked suspicious, according to sheriff’s records released Friday.
An incident report shows James Worley called a dispatcher to report the boys outside his rural farmhouse and said he was going to chase them. He later told a deputy that he briefly followed the pair about 300 yards to a neighbor’s house because he’d been worried about break-ins.
The neighbor said she knew the boys and they got scared when Worley started yelling. No charges came from the incident in June 2014.
Worley, who spent three years in prison after abducting a woman riding a bike in 1990, has been charged with aggravated murder and abduction in the death of 20-year-old University of Toledo student Sierah Joughin.
Her body was found in a cornfield near Worley’s home a week ago. Joughin, who will be buried Friday, disappeared while riding her bicycle on a country road in rural Fulton County, about 20 miles west of Toledo.
Since Worley’s arrest a week ago, investigators have been looking into the possibility of additional victims. They said in the court documents that he “fits the profile of a serial offender.”
Investigators found a hidden room outfitted with restraints inside a barn next to his farmhouse, and they were looking into whether it was used to hold other victims, according to search warrants released Thursday. The room also had a carpet-lined freezer with blood inside and had been concealed by hay bales, the documents said.
Worley has declined interview requests from the news media, and his attorney said Thursday that he had not seen the search warrants and could not comment.
Authorities spent several days digging through the property where Worley lived with his mother and operated a small-engine repair shop surrounded by farm fields in northwestern Ohio.
Search warrants say cellphone evidence shows Worley was at the spot where Joughin’s bike was found for two hours on the day she went missing.
Investigators said he had marks on his arms and bruises on his lower legs but told them “he didn’t steal anything or kill anyone,” according to the documents.
He first told investigators he had been riding a motorcycle and lost his helmet and other items after it broke down, the search warrants said. Those items, including a blood-covered motorcycle helmet, were found at the spot where Joughin’s bike was located, the documents said.
Authorities also found zip ties and a ski mask in Worley’s truck and removed two sets of handcuffs, rope, tape and recording equipment from his home, the search warrants said.
A review of records on sheriff’s runs to his home shows he called the department seven times since the beginning of 2014, reporting suspicious activity and other minor incidents — once saying he saw three red lights in a triangle pattern in the sky.
He complained in November about damage from a township snowplow and called deputies last July about a dispute with his brother, who was living in a trailer on the property.