The Nebraska couple accused of fatally strangling 24-year-old Sydney Loofe after wooing her on a dating app allegedly convinced at least one other Tinder date that they controlled a coven of witches who gained their powers by killing people.
“To get your power, you have to breathe in their last breath,” a witness, referred to on the stand as A.H., testified in Dawson County Court on Wednesday, recounting her months-long relationship with Bailey Boswell and Aubrey Trail in 2017, according to NTV News.
Boswell, 26, is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and improper disposal of human remains for her role in the 2017 slaying and dismemberment of Loofe, a cashier at a Lincoln, Nebraska home-improvements store. She has denied any involvement in the murder.
Prosecutors allege Boswell conspired for weeks with Trail, her 52-year-old boyfriend, to lure Loofe to her death. Loofe was missing for 19 days after the Tinder date before her body was found in garbage bags scattered among ditches and farm fields in rural Nebraska.
Last July, Trail was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder after jurors heard from witnesses who said the 52-year-old convinced his “cult” members he was a flying, mind-reading vampire. A.H. also testified Wednesday that Trail claimed he was a vampire and Boswell was the “queen of the witches.”
During Trail's dramatic trial—in which he cut his own throat and declared his girlfriend’s innocence—he claimed Loofe was accidentally strangled during a “sex party” and Boswell only helped clean up the crime scene. Prosecutors, however, argue Boswell was a willing participant in a sinister murder plot, pointing to evidence that the couple had conspired to lure several young women into their lifestyle.
On the 11th day of testimony in Boswell’s trial, A.H. described in graphic detail how she was lured into the couple’s sinister world after matching with Boswell, who went by “Jenna,” on Tinder in June 2017.
The witness, one of three three women expected to testify for the prosecution, detailed Boswell and Trail’s “rules”—including not wearing clothes in the apartment and mandatory checks with the 52-year-old every three hours—and frequent discussions about “killing and torture.”
A.H. said that, about three weeks after matching with Boswell, she learned the 26-year-old’s true identity and her “sugar daddy” relationship with Trail—an agreement Boswell allegedly said Trail extended to A.H. During their first meeting, A.H. said Trail began to show her pictures of “anywhere from 10 to 12” women on his phone, individuals she would later learn were members of his coven, according to NTV News.
Eventually, A.H. agreed to a “sugar daddy” relationship with Trail, in which he would give her a $2,000 “weekly allowance” to go on shopping sprees with Boswell.
“I enjoyed being taken care of,” A.H. testified Wednesday, NTV News reported.
Throughout her sexual relationship with the couple, A.H. said she also became involved in their antiques business and their “witch coven.”
The woman said Boswell, who was understood to be the “queen” of the coven with about a dozen witches under her, told A.H. she was a “healer” in the coven and could only get her power by torturing and breathing in someone’s final breath. She said that Boswell talked “multiple times” about wanting to torture people, even describing her preferred methods in graphic detail, the Omaha World-Herald reported.
“I think I just got caught up in the what ifs of life,” A.H. testified, stressing she no longer believes what the couple told her, according to 1011News.
Trail, she added, spoke about a ritual during full moons in which witches would go into an open field to “leave their bodies”—an act that would apparently “take care of the bad in their world.”
A.H. also said Trail claimed he was a flying, mind-reading vampire who said she could leave the group whenever she wanted until she killed someone to gain her powers. After that, Trail said, he would erase her memory, NTV News reported.
An eager participant in the coven, A.H. said she once drove to a Walmart with the couple to meet a woman she was supposed to kill. She testified that Trail told her the murder would take place in the woods where a tarp would be laid out “to do everything over.” Afterwards, Boswell and A.H. would go back home to shower one another while Trail would dispose of the body and burn the pair’s clothes.
Part of the plan included having Boswell’s “kill kit,” which included a hammer—and A.H. said she was told she’d receive her own to replenish after every kill.
“At the time I was ready for it,” A.H. said, referring to a plan for her to kill a woman in their group who Boswell found “annoying” and said needed to be “dealt with.” The plan, she said, was to kill the woman on the way to Pennsylvania and dump her body along their way to antique stores.
But, when she was at a local TJ Maxx to try on clothes for the killing, she said she had a panic attack and told Boswell she wanted out, NTV News reported.
The woman said she left the group shortly thereafter, just months before Loofe went missing.
“Some of these people are just pieces of the puzzle. And they might not make sense when you hear them individually,” Assistant Attorney General Sandra Allen told the jury during opening statements when the trial began last month, according to the Omaha-World Herald. She added that, in the end, “it will all make sense to you.”
Prosecutors allege that before Loofe’s disappearance on Nov. 15, 2017, she had gushed to a friend about a future second date with Boswell, whom she described as her “dream girl.” But prosecutors allege Trail and Boswell messaged Loofe on Tinder under the name “Audrey” with the intent of “killing, torture, and sex.” (Tinder was formerly owned by IAC, the parent corporation of The Daily Beast.)
Allen said cellphone data tracked Trail and Boswell the day of the killing, showing that they followed Loofe to work and bought a hacksaw, utility knife, boxes of trash bags, four roasting pans, and duct tape.
That night, while Loofe was on a date with Boswell, Trail strangled the 24-year-old with an extension cord and then used a “fine-toothed saw” to dismember her body, prosecutors alleged.
The morning after the date, Loofe was reported missing when she didn’t show up for work at Menards.
Lincoln Police Investigator Bob Hurley walked jurors through the couple’s movements after the murder. In the evening of Nov. 14, the couple were seen on CCTV staying the night at a Best Western motel before going to a variety of stores the following morning, including a Home Depot, where they bought a hacksaw, plastic sheets, a drywall blade, and a box-cutting knife.
Nineteen days later, after an extensive search and a manhunt for Trail and Boswell, authorities found Loofe’s body about an hour-and-a-half drive from her apartment complex outside of Lincoln.
Boswell’s defense attorney, however, poked holes at the prosecution’s case and witnesses during his opening statement last month, cautioning jurors against thinking emotionally.
“Remember when you start getting emotional, when you start getting upset about this, think about why the state's giving you that evidence,” the defense attorney said. “It's because their case is weak and they want to roil your emotions up.”