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Inside the Midwest’s Craziest Murder Trial: Grifters, ‘Sex Games,’ and a Throat Slit in Court

Before Aubrey Trail stabbed his own throat in court, jurors heard how he and his girlfriend allegedly lured 24-year-old Sydney Loofe on dating apps before murdering her.

Kate Briquelet6.24.19 7:02 PM ET

A grifter charged with slaying a young Nebraska woman—whom authorities say was lured to her death via Tinder, then dismembered—interrupted his murder trial on Monday when he stabbed himself in the neck just as a witness took the stand.

“Bailey is innocent and I curse you all!” Aubrey Trail declared, before slicing his throat and collapsing from his wheelchair, according to the Lincoln Journal Star. Trail, 52, was likely referring to Bailey Boswell, his 25-year-old girlfriend and alleged accomplice who will face her own murder trial this October.

Trail is accused of butchering Sydney Loofe, 24, who vanished on Nov. 15, 2017, after gushing to a friend about a future second date with Boswell, whom she described as her “dream girl.” Sydney perhaps only knew Boswell as “Audrey,” which was the alleged killer’s name on the Tinder dating app. (Tinder is owned by IAC, the parent corporation of The Daily Beast.)

After Sydney disappeared, Boswell and Trail posted bizarre Facebook videos in which they professed their innocence, before cops even charged them or discovered Sydney’s body in a Clay County farm field. The feds arrested the odd couple, who claimed to be antiques dealers, on Nov. 30, 2017, in Missouri for allegedly transporting stolen goods from Kansas to Nebraska. Six months later, they were charged with Sydney’s murder.

“You’ve already crucified us in the newspapers, you’ve already crucified us on Facebook. You know, in America, I sure thought it was a trial first but I guess not,” Trail said in one of the puzzling Facebook clips. 

“They’re chasing us around like dogs,” Trail added. “I wish the family the best …. I wish Sydney the best. But as far as the police department, fuck you.”

Trail would later phone local media from jail and claim Sydney’s death was an accident, a sexual fantasy gone wrong. During one call with the Star Journal, Trail claimed Sydney died of accidental asphyxiation while she was in a room with him and two other women. He separately told the Omaha World-Herald: “It wasn’t supposed to go to the extreme it went, of course not. It wasn’t meant that she was to die.”

Defense attorney Joe Murray seized on Trail’s claims during opening arguments, telling the jury that Sydney’s death was an accident, rather than premeditated. Trail and Sydney had a closer relationship than what’s publicly known, Murray added. “Sydney’s death was not intentional. It was not planned,” the lawyer told jurors, according to the Journal Star.

“Aubrey Trail is not a nice man, but I submit to you that with respect to the charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to murder, he has told the truth throughout,” Murray told the courtroom. Trail offered Sydney money to participate in his group sexual activities, Murray stated, but she wasn’t forced to do it, 1011 News reported. When Sydney lost consciousness and died during erotic asphyxiation, Trail panicked and dismembered her body so it could fit in his trunk, Murray told the jury. 

The lawyer said Trail and Boswell traveled with two other young women, who’d recently left their sexual fantasy group, and wanted Sydney to be a replacement, according to the World-Herald.

This was a planned seduction to kill somebody.
Nebraska Assistant Attorney General Sandra Allen

But the prosecution says Trail and Boswell planned to murder someone using social media. They targeted Sydney and purchased a collection of tools for their heinous deed—including a hacksaw, duct tape, drop cloths, utility knives, trash bags and bleach—just before Sydney went missing. “This was a planned seduction to kill somebody,” said Nebraska Assistant Attorney General Sandra Allen. “The somebody is Sydney Loofe.”

As for Trail’s fantasy-turned-deadly explanation, Allen said authorities “have evidence to suggest that is a fabrication.”

Surveillance video showed Trail walking into a Menards home-improvements store, where Sydney worked, on Nov. 15, 2017, and looking at his victim, Allen told jurors. Trail glanced at his victim, looked in his pocket, and back at Sydney once more, the Journal Star reported. Allen said that after this, Trail called Boswell. 

That night, Boswell took Sydney on their second date. Sydney’s phone and both alleged killers’ cellphones weren’t in service. Sydney’s phone never turned back on, and she was reported missing after she failed to show up for work. 

Cellphone records for Trail and Boswell  helped lead detectives to Sydney’s body, which was discovered on Dec. 4 and Dec. 5 in a rural ditch, after authorities discovered a trash bag with an arm sticking out. Sydney was identified by searchers because of a tattoo on her arm that says: “Everything will be wonderful someday.”

Allen told jurors that cops didn’t find most of her internal organs, and that her tongue, kidneys and heart were gone. 

Sydney was identified by searchers because of a tattoo on her arm that says: 'Everything will be wonderful someday.'

Before his trial began, Trail pleaded guilty to improper disposal of skeletal remains—a felony that could land him two years behind bars. 

The ex-convict has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, for which he faces the death penalty, and conspiracy to commit murder.

It’s unclear what object Trail used to stab himself on Monday in Saline County District Court, but the Omaha World-Herald reported it appeared to be a pen or a small blade and that blood was visible on the defendant’s neck. He was removed from the courtroom on a gurney and transported to the hospital, and a cleaning crew arrived to wipe blood from the floor.

Later in the afternoon, Judge Vicky Johnson told jurors to disregard Trail’s outburst and that in future court appearances, Trail would wear handcuffs.

According to the Journal Star, Trail’s disturbance came during a slow day of testimony. An FBI agent and Saline County sheriff’s deputy told jurors about police searches of Trail and Boswell’s apartment in Wilber, Nebraska. And the manager of a Days Inn in Spencer, Iowa, testified that she spotted the couple laughing and joking over their Thanksgiving dinner at the hotel, prompting her to call a tip line in Sydney’s case. 

Last week, Sydney’s mother, Susie, testified that she saw her daughter had posted a Snapchat about her upcoming Tinder date. “How come you didn’t tell me you had a date?” Susie texted Sydney that night, a message that was never received. 

The friend flirted and asked for Audrey’s phone number and sent the digits to Sydney’s family and police.

Susie Loofe, who lives in Neligh, called Lincoln police, after Sydney’s younger sister said Sydney’s friends couldn’t reach her and were concerned. 

The mom told jurors Sydney struggled with depression and saw a doctor to change her medication on Nov. 13. Four days later, Sydney’s parents and sister knew something was amiss: They showed up to Sydney’s apartment and saw her cat was inside, without food or water. Sydney’s purse was on a kitchen counter, and her Jeep was parked outside.

Sydney’s family and friends quickly jumped in to help police find her.

One of Sydney’s friends, Brittney Flinn, testified that Sydney texted her on Nov. 14, saying she’d just been on a date with someone from Tinder. Sydney sent Flinn a photo of this woman, who was later identified as Boswell. 

Another pal, Brooklyn McCrystal, told jurors she set up a phony Tinder profile to find the woman who was believed to last see Sydney alive. 

McCrystal came upon “Audrey, 25” and they matched. “I found the picture so I swiped right, which meant I liked her, I want to match with her,” McCrystal said, according to KETV, a local TV station in Omaha. The friend flirted and asked for Audrey’s phone number and sent the digits to Sydney’s family and police. 

Cops then traced that phone number to Boswell.

Meanwhile, Trail and Boswell’s landlord, Jennifer Koll, testified that she smelled bleach everywhere at her property on Nov. 16, 2017. The alleged killers had been renting the woman’s basement, and cops came knocking two days later. 

Jennifer and her husband, Alan Koll, told jurors they didn’t hear any noise coming from the basement around the time of Sydney’s murder. 

The alleged killers’ lair was somewhat normal, with flowers on a dining room table and decorated throughout with framed photographs, police testified.

But, according to one 1011 News report, authorities also discovered Viagra, 17 sex toys and bottles of bleach, along with smears on the walls from cleaning. 

Nebraska State Patrol investigator Pedro Nabegh told jurors cops were looking for evidence that Sydney had visited the Wilber apartment. Police took swabs from sinks, and collected bedding along with the sex toys, Nabegh testified, according to KLKN, a TV channel in Lincoln.

“The warrant implied to collect the sex toys as well because they might also bear her DNA, placing her in the residence,” Nabegh testified.

The bedding police found matched a sheet that was discovered in the field where Sydney’s body was discovered, Nabegh said.