Suspect charged in cold case sex assaults from 1993

Ozzie Worthey - picture courtesy Michigan Department of Corrections

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — It’s a string of sexual assaults that shocked Jackson back in the early 1990s.

And now after nearly 25 years, authorities say they have a suspect.

This week, 51-year-old Ozzie Worthey was charged with five counts of kidnapping for the decades-old crimes.

“Teen pulled into woods, raped near Sharp Park.”

“City has second rape in week.”

Those are just some of the shocking headlines from the Jackson Citizen Patriot about a string of sexual assaults that happened in Jackson in 1993.

“The victims in these cases were alone by themselves walking when they were approached and attacked by the suspect and sexually assaulted,” said Chief Elmer Hitt of the Jackson Police Department.

Hitt says police investigated five separate cases involving victims aged 13 to 19 years old.

A police sketch from the time identifies the suspect as a black male, who was in his mid-to-late 20s, and over six feet tall.

The crimes went unsolved for more than 20 years.

The cold cases came back into the forefront last year, when the Jackson Police Department received new information about the crimes.

“Based upon the new information and reopening the investigation we were able to put together a case on them and get the charges issued through the prosecutor’s office,” Hitt said.

This week the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office identified Ozzie Worthey as the suspect, charging him with five counts of kidnapping.

Hitt says Worthey hasn’t been charged with sexual assault because the statute of limitations had passed on those offenses.

The 51-year-old is already serving time in prison for driving under the influence.

Prison records indicate Worthey matches the suspect description from the early 90s.

Prosecuting Attorney Jerry Jarzynka says new evidence that came forward linked Worthey to the crimes, and that was a big factor in his charging decision.

“We certainly are seeking justice for the victims of this crime, for their families, but also for our community. We want people to know that we’re not giving up on cases,” Jarzynka said.

Worthey is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in January.

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JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – In May of 2016, the Jackson Police Department received information that caused a series of unsolved sexual assault cases from the summer and fall of 1993 to be reopened.

Through the investigating of these cases, Ozzie Worthey was identified as a suspect in five separate incidents.

At the time of the incidents, the victims’ ages ranged from 13-years-old to 19-years-old.

In each of these cases, the female victims were approached and attacked by the suspect as they walked alone in the city.

Ozzie Worthey is currently behind bars by the Michigan Department of Corrections on unrelated charges. Records show he was sentenced in February of 2016 to 2 to 6 years in prison for operating while intoxicated/impaired/or under the influence of a controlled substance after an arrest back in Jackson County in September of 2015.

Worthey is scheduled for a preliminary examination on January 3, 2018 on five counts of kidnapping in connection with these incidents from 1993.

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