The search for Sierah Joughin has grown more desperate as it moves into the third day, with FBI officials asking the public to help in the hunt for the missing 20-year-old woman. Authorities are now offering a $25,000 reward to help find her.
Joughin disappeared on Tuesday night after going on a bike ride alongside her boyfriend near her home in northwestern Ohio. Police told People magazine that Sierah was last seen with Josh Kolasinski, but police said her longtime boyfriend has been participating with the investigation and is not considered a suspect.
Investigators made what could be a grim discovery in the hours after she went missing, finding Joughin’s bicycle abandoned by a nearby cornfield. The Toledo Blade reported that there were signs of a disturbance nearby.
A trace of Joughin’s cell phone showed a ping somewhere near the Michigan border, but police have not said if they believe she was in the area or not.
Given Sierah Joughin’s history and the fact that she had never gone away before without telling someone, family members said they are worried she may have been abducted.
“We are struggling and trying to stay hopeful,” Joughin’s aunt told People magazine. “We just want her to come home safe and [whoever has her] to just leave her where she is and let us have her back.”
As the search for Sierah Joughin moved into its third day, investigators said they are still hunting for clues as to where and how she went missing.
“We continue to search wherever the investigation takes us, and we’ll continue to cover all leads,” said Jake Hardie with the Toledo office of the FBI (via Fox 19).
Family members said that the search for Joughin was picking up again on Friday at close to noon, but otherwise, the close family has remained quiet and asked for privacy.
Although the search appears to have turned up few clues so far, some extended family members said they still have hope that they will find her safe.
“Optimistic that we’ll find her,” Sierah Joughin’s uncle Howard Ice said Wednesday (via Fox 19). “And, I think with all the help of the FBI and BCI, the Highway Patrol, Michigan State Police have been helping us… Lenawee County. So, there’s a lot of people that have been involved right now, so a lot of prayers being said. So, we’ll continue to hold hope.”
The hunt for Sierah Joughin may be growing more difficult, however. The FBI is still working to find her phone, but investigators said they believe it is now dead. They are still following up on tips from the community, with dozens of leads reportedly phoned in from nearby residents. Police have also offered a $25,000 reward for information that leads to Sierah, Fox 19 reported.
EVERYONE PLEASE SHARE THIS— Trevor Albers (@Tweetin_Trevo) July 22, 2016
My friend Sierah went missing. Please help us find her pic.twitter.com/LTQz4V2qrZ
Family and friends are taking an active role in the search as well. A GoFundMe page was set up by Sierah’s mother to raise money for the search, and by Friday afternoon it had already taken in more than $25,000 toward a $50,000 goal.
In the message accompanying the fundraiser, Sheila Vaculik noted that it was not like Sierah to go missing.
“It is uncharacteristic for her to disappear without saying anything. The money raised from this fundraiser will go towards anything that will help spread the word of her disappearance. This includes buying billboards, advertisements, posters, large signs, and flyers. The money will also go towards the support of the search parties. Anything thing that has already been donated is extremely appreciated and reminds me why I love this community.”
Anyone with information about the disappearance of Sierah Joughin is asked to call the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office at (419) 335-4010 Ext. 8.
[Image via GoFundMe]