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Safer With Sierah’s Law

Other Editors Say...

What Sierah Joughin’s loved ones have been through is unfathomable.

If the law named for her and signed by John Kasich, Ohio governor, can spare even one family that agony, the measure will be worthwhile.

Sponsored by Randy Gardner, state senator (R, Bowling Green), Sierah’s Law will create a statewide database and require those convicted of murder, attempted murder, voluntary manslaughter, kidnapping, and abduction to register their addresses for at least 10 years upon release from prison.

Ms. Joughin, of Metamora, was a 20-year-old student at the University of Toledo when she vanished in July 2016.

James D. Worley, who then lived in nearby Delta, abducted Ms. Joughin as she rode her bike through rural Fulton County toward her boyfriend’s home. He handcuffed and strangled her before disposing of her body in a field.

Worley is now on death row at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution.

As investigators closed in on him, they discovered that Worley had previously served a prison sentence for a similar Lucas County abduction that his victim survived.

If that information had been more readily available when Sierah disappeared near his home, her family believes it could have helped in the search for her.

The statewide database, which will be for law enforcement eyes only, has the real potential to save lives.

Reducing the amount of time necessary for investigators to identify nearby offenders with a history of similar crimes can help police.

Sierah’s mother, Sheila Vaculik, has said she hopes one day a national network of such databases will enable police to track offenders state-to-state.

Authorities should investigate what it would take to make that shared database a reality.

No new law can come close to being an adequate memorial for the talented and lovely young woman brutally taken from her family and community.

But as Mr. Gardner said, at least now Sierah’s name can forever be associated with making Ohio safer.–Toledo Blade



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