Young Woman Vanishes After Online Date and Is Found Strangled, Dismembered Weeks Later: Officials

A Nebraska woman who disappeared after an online date was allegedly strangled with an extension cord and dismembered by two longtime “persons of interest” who now have been charged with her murder, PEOPLE confirms.

Aubrey Trail, 51, and 24-year-old Bailey Boswell made their first appearance on Tuesday in Saline County Court after being charged Monday with first-degree murder and improper disposal of human skeletal remains in the killing of Sydney Loofe, 24.

Loofe’s body was recovered in December, three weeks after she vanished.

Authorities believe her murder occurred on Nov. 15 or 16, after she and Boswell met on the Tinder dating app and exchanged about 140 messages in the days before Loofe disappeared, according to criminal complaints and supporting probable cause affidavits in the case, the Omaha World-Herald reports.

The two women had gone on a date Nov. 14 and planned to go out again the next day when, on the morning of Nov. 15, surveillance video captured Boswell and Tail purchasing items at a Home Depot in Lincoln that authorities think were used in the victim’s “dismemberment and disposal,” the court documents state.

Neither Trail nor Boswell has entered a plea to the charges against them.

Each was appointed a standby attorney before they return to court on June 19. Those attorneys could not immediately be reached by PEOPLE on Tuesday afternoon.

The Case So Far

Loofe was reported missing by her family on Nov. 16 after failing to show up for her shift that day at a home improvement store in Lincoln. The night before, she went out with Boswell after messaging a friend on Snapchat that she was “ready for my date.”

During a December news conference on the day after Loofe’s family confirmed that her remains were found, Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister said “analysis of digital evidence” had led investigators to Loofe’s body.

He said at the time that investigators had uncovered “evidence of foul play.”

The newly revealed court documents state that Loofe’s last message from Boswell was recorded at 6:54 p.m. on Nov. 15, with Boswell saying that she’d arrived at Loofe’s home. Loofe’s phone pinged less than two hours later near Wilber, where Boswell and Tail lived.

Authorities who later visited their basement apartment said the walls looked to be “wiped down in an effort to clean them,” according to the documents.

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‘Our Side of the Story’

Trail and Boswell were named by authorities as “persons of interest” in the case in November but initially denied any involvement.

Before they were arrested late that month in Missouri, they took the unusual step of posting an online video titled “our side of the story.”

“We’re not trying to defend anything, we’re not trying to make you believe anything,” Trail said in the nearly 10-minute clip while sitting with Boswell in what looks to be a parked car. “We just feel we should get to say our side since everyone else gets to say theirs.”

Boswell has confirmed through social media that she met Loofe on Tinder. She said in videos posted online that she met Loofe twice but dropped her off after their second date.

“I haven’t heard from her since,” Boswell said in one video. “I just want the family to know that I’m truly sorry and I didn’t have anything to do with this and I hope that Sydney is found very soon. She is a sweet, amazing girl.”

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In February, while the two were behind bars on unrelated charges, Trail made the startling claim that he had accidentally strangled Loofe during a consensual sexual encounter that also involved two other women — but not Boswell, he said.

“It was suffocation,” he said in an interview with a World-Herald reporter, whom he called to share his account of the incident.

Loofe had allegedly agreed to be part of a sexual fantasy with Trail and the two other women while Boswell was passed out from drugs in another room, he said.

“It wasn’t supposed to go to the extreme it went, of course not,” he said. “It wasn’t meant that she was to die.”

Court documents show he also told police that he was the one who strangled Loofe and that Boswell allegedly helped him to clean the crime scene and dispose of the body afterward.

In a separate prison phone call to the World-Herald before his claim about the sexual game, Trail admitted to being responsible for Loofe’s death — and said he deserved the death penalty.

“A life for a life — that’s the rules in my world,” he said. “I should be put to death.”

“Try me,” Trail said during one phone call. “Charge me. Let’s get justice for Sydney Loofe.”

The murder charge against him and Boswell carries the possibility of either life in prison or the death sentence. Prosecutors reportedly have not yet decided on which penalty they will seek.

In a post on a Facebook memorial page for Loofe, her parents reportedly wrote that “she was looking for that one special person with whom she could spend time.

“She took to Tinder to look for that person and unfortunately, found someone that had nothing but evil plans for her.”

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