true crime

A grieving mum has finally destroyed the house that her daughter's killer tortured her in.

Sierah Joughin was riding alongside her boyfriend of seven years, Josh Kolasinski, on the afternoon of July 19, 2016. The 20-year-old had just been visiting him in northwest Ohio and was on her way home.

To see her off, Josh rode alongside her part of the way on his motorbike, and, in one happy moment, took a photo of his girlfriend, smiling as she cycled along the country road in rural Fulton County.

Sierah Joughin
Image: Fulton County Sheriff’s Office

Then the university student kissed him, and said goodbye as she rode off.

It would be the last time Josh ever saw his girlfriend.

Three days later Sierah's body was found a shallow grave by County Road Seven.

James Worley was arrested the same day as a suspect in Sierah's abduction and murder, issuing a warrant to search his large property.

In the days following his arrest, police found increasingly incriminating evidence at his property, including women's underwear stained with blood, rope, tape, zip ties, handcuffs, several firearms and ammunition.

Disturbingly, authorities found a makeshift dungeon hidden behind bales of hay in the 59-year-old’s barn. They also found a freezer lined with carpet.

Worley was found guilty in March and handed the death penalty in April for Sierah's murder.

Her mother Sheila Vaculik, was given Worley's dilapidated property in a wrongful death suit, and late last month began the clearing the land where her daughter spent her final days.

"There is a release of anger and frustration that is part of my healing process," she told the Daily Mail, adding that this, nor anything else, could never bring her "closure".

Sheila was able to order bulldozers to tear down the farmhouses where Worley, his brother and mother lived, but frustratingly she is unable to destroy the barn where her daughter was kept.

That's because Worley has appealed his sentence and it may be needed for evidence. Thankfully, it too can be destroyed in March next year.

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"I'm not going to lie, there is an emotional gratification in tearing down and burning something you loathe so much," she told ABC 13.

"We look forward to removing the darkness and opening it up and letting the light shine in."

Sheila said she hasn't decided what to do with the three-acre property once it's flattened, but is hoping she can turn it into something positive in her daughter's memory.

At present, it serves as a reminder of how the state's justice system could fail her daughter by allowing a man convicted of abducting a woman to do it again.

james-worley
Image: Northwest Ohio Corrections Centre

In 1990 Worley had abducted a woman riding her bike alone very close to where Sierah was riding. He hit and handcuffed her, before she escaped. He served three years for the crime.

And in the summer of 2016, he saw his next victim.

When Sierah didn't arrive home, her family reported her missing.

A Facebook page was set up, 'Help find Sierah Joughin', which asked those who knew the young student to share a poster appealing for information.

But the search ended three days later when police discovered a body in a cornfield in the same area Sierah had been riding.

In the years since Sierah's loss, her family has campaigned for a public registry to be created in the state that tracks people convicted of violent crimes. In April, Ohio's Senate approved a bill that will see it become a reality.

Her boyfriend Josh, along with his mum, sister and Sierah's mum, has also set up a charity in her honour called Keeping Our Girls Safe.

The group runs annual memorial rides in the community. The money they raise provides self-defence classes for girls in the hope that the next time a woman encounters a monster like the one who took Sierah, their story may not end the same way.

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