WILBER, Neb. — Just before Sydney Loofe went on her first Internet-arranged date with a woman named “Audrey” on Nov. 14, 2017, she texted a cautionary question.
“Just going to be me and you, right?” she asked via the dating app Tinder.
“OK. Yes. Of course,” responded Audrey.
“Audrey” turned out to be Bailey Boswell, the girlfriend of Aubrey Trail.
That’s according to testimony Wednesday in Trail’s trial, which will continue next week.
Trail, 52, and Boswell, 25, are charged with first-degree murder in the slaying and dismemberment of Loofe, who disappeared on Nov. 16, 2017, following a second date with Boswell arranged over Tinder. Trail and Boswell face the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.
Loofe’s first date with Boswell, on Nov. 14, involved only them. But a second date, the next night, ended up at an apartment in Wilber shared by Boswell and Trail. And, according to Trail’s statements, Loofe died sometime that night amid a “sexual fantasy” that involved choking.
Sign up for The World-Herald's afternoon updates
Receive a summary of the day’s popular and trending stories from Omaha.com.
Trail, who has served two stints in Nebraska prisons for bad checks and forgery, has claimed that Loofe agreed to participate in the fantasy for $5,000 and died accidentally, when the choking went “too far.”
But prosecutors, during almost three weeks of testimony , have laid out a much more sinister story — that Trail conspired with others to lure a young woman to her death using social media.
On Tuesday, three young women testified that they had met Boswell over Tinder and then were eventually introduced to Boswell’s “sugar daddy,” Aubrey Trail.
The women — whom a judge ordered not be identified in any way to protect their privacy — said they received clothes and gifts and were given allowances of up to $200 a week by Trail to join the group, which he boasted included 12 other “witches.”
But there were rules to follow, the women testified, including participating in group sex with Trail and Boswell; helping them sell, and steal, antiques; and obeying their every wish. That included wearing no clothes in their apartment and accepting punishments — including whippings — if they misbehaved.
The women told jurors that Trail and Boswell spoke more than once about a desire to torture and kill someone so the women could become witches and gain “powers.” One woman said the pair intended to record and sell such a video for $1 million. There also was testimony that Boswell liked to inflict pain during sex.
Whether Loofe was ever given the talk about becoming a “witch” or Trail being a “sugar daddy” is unclear. There has been no testimony during the trial that such information was given to her.
There’s also been no evidence introduced showing that Loofe might have agreed to participate in a dangerous sex act, though Trail’s court-appointed lawyers say Loofe had money troubles at the time, and Trail has said she was informed of her role and agreed to it.
Earlier Wednesday, jurors heard more testimony about the travels of Trail and Boswell in the days just following Loofe’s disappearance on Nov. 16, 2017.
Trail and Boswell first traveled to Council Bluffs on Nov. 17 after picking up a woman in Omaha who was in a sexual relationship with Boswell.
Video surveillance from the Ameristar Casino showed the trio checking into a Holiday Inn on the casino property.
FBI agent Mike Maseth testified that on Nov. 18, Trail and Boswell left the hotel and traveled through Plattsmouth to Nebraska City, shopping at a Walmart before heading west on Highway 2 toward Lincoln.
Maseth said that about 11:45 a.m. that day, Lincoln police placed a phone call to a “pinger number” (one that is difficult to trace) that Boswell used to arrange dates via Tinder. About the same time, the agent said, data records from her cellphone ended, suggesting that the phone might have been shut off.
The pair then apparently turned back east, stopping at a Shopko in Plattsmouth about 1:20 p.m. before returning to Council Bluffs.
Jurors also heard testimony Wednesday morning from motel clerks in Grand Island and Kearney, where Trail, Boswell and the woman they picked up stayed from Nov. 19 through 22, before returning to Ameristar.
Trail and Boswell, according to earlier testimony, then stayed at motels in Iowa, in Spencer and Ames, before they traveled to Branson, Missouri, where they were apprehended by authorities on Nov. 30.
Loofe’s body was found in several black plastic bags on Dec. 4 and 5, 2017, scattered along gravel roads in rural Clay County, Nebraska.
Testimony in Trail’s trial is scheduled to conclude on Monday or Tuesday, after a four-day break for the Fourth of July holiday. Boswell is scheduled to stand trial in October.
Trail was again not present in court on Wednesday. He has skipped the proceedings since he slashed his neck in court on June 24.
It’s unclear whether he will testify in his own defense.
1 of 46
A former convict was charged with using a drone to attempt to drop marijuana into the Lincoln Correctional Center yard. Read more
A man walking home from work along the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge used a pocket knife to fight off two attackers, sending both to the hospital. Read more
An Omahan was scammed out of $4,800 after trying to buy College World Series tickets. Read more
The Montana man known as the “AK-47 Bandit” who robbed several banks in at least five states, including Nebraska, was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison. Read more
A mall security guard was arrested on suspicion of making terroristic threats after threatening to shoot at suspected shoplifters fleeing in a vehicle. Read more
Travis Fieldgrove, who had sex with a woman who was both his wife and his daughter, was sentenced to two years in prison. Read more
A 28-year-old Omaha man was accused of spanking a 2-year-old girl so hard that she suffered multiple internal injuries. Read more
A man walking in Lincoln was struck in the genitals by a bullet after he dropped a .22-caliber handgun and it discharged. Read more
An 18-year-old man who police say was driving a stolen car was fatally shot by a friend of the car’s owner in Council Bluffs. Read more
A Tecumseh, Nebraska, man shot two former co-workers after they forced their way into his home and tried to fight with him, according to the State Patrol. Read more
A North Carolina man was arrested by Lincoln police after they say he attempted to kidnap a 14-year-old girl and take her to live with him in Wisconsin. Read more
A Shelton woman was driving north on U.S. Highway 281 when a man who’d been kicked out of another vehicle forced his way into her van. The woman, frightened by the man, took her infant and left the vehicle. But the suspect didn’t get far because the key fob remained with the woman. Read more
A staff member at the Tecumseh State Prison was attacked when an inmate’s cell door was mistakenly opened. Read more
A Lincoln man who had ambitions of being a fighter has been arrested on suspicion of assault after authorities say he attacked a pro wrestling great during the Hall of Fame ceremony in New York City. Read more
More than 200 dead cattle and another 200-plus in questionable condition were found on property in Fillmore County, Nebraska, investigators said. Read more
The SUV of an Omaha woman was repeatedly rammed from behind in a Taco Bell drive-thru lane by a man who later got into the woman’s vehicle and drove it into the concrete base around a light pole. Read more
A 17-year-old boy was taken into custody after he took an unloaded 9 mm handgun to school, La Vista police said. Read more
A woman was injured after being put in the trunk of a car that fled police and crashed, police said. The woman had been reported abducted. Read more
A trip to Arby’s for lunch turned into a dangerous road-rage incident in Elkhorn when a driver got out of his car with a handgun and shot the tire on another man’s pickup truck. Read more
A 33-year-old man accused of leading Omaha police officers on a high-speed chase across the city had tried to run over officers, a prosecutor said, before the chase ended at The World-Herald building. Read more
A teenager was sentenced after luring a man for sex and fatally wounding him during a robbery. Read more
DNA helped lead police to man charged in a Guaca Maya slaying. Read more
A former U.S. Air Force counterintelligence specialist who defected to Iran has been charged with revealing classified information to the government in Tehran, including the code name and secret mission of a Pentagon program, prosecutors said. Read more
A masked man shot a clerk inside the Bucky’s convenience store at 30th and Dodge Streets about 3 a.m. She was taken to the Nebraska Medical Center with an injury that wasn’t considered life-threatening. Read more
A 25-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound after he went to confront a 50-year-old man at his home. Read more
An Iowa woman has been charged with five felonies after authorities alleged that she stole $3,535 worth of pull-tab lottery tickets while she worked at a convenience store. Read more
A 33-year-old man accused of cutting his girlfriend with a sword was covered in blood when police arrived at a house in Lincoln. Read more
A parolee is back in jail after punching a man who was a Tinder date for his girlfriend’s friend, according to a court affidavit. Read more
A grenade found in a dumpster in southeast Nebraska was disposed of by Nebraska State Patrol troopers. Read more
A Lincoln man upset that his wife and a friend were talking too loudly as he was trying to get to sleep walked downstairs and pointed a gun at his wife, police said. Read more
DNA evidence led police to issue an arrest warrant in an unsolved 2013 slaying of a Ralston woman. Read more
An Omaha man was arrested after an investigation indicated he had allowed two adult pit bulls to starve to death. Read more
A standoff with Omaha police ended after a man fell off an SUV, where he had been standing and shouting. Read more
Law officers from multiple agencies converged in rural Nebraska on Monday after a man exchanged gunfire twice with officers and escaped from a traffic stop by stealing a sheriff’s vehicle. Read more
An Iowa woman who went to prison for sex with 17-year-old ward of the state said she feels shame and remorse. Read more
The former pharmacy director for Children’s Hospital & Medical Center accused of embezzling more than $4.6 million from the hospital pleaded guilty to wire fraud Monday in U.S. District Court. Read more
A 22-year-old man reportedly drove drunk to the parking lot of the Lancaster County Jail, where his vehicle was spotted weaving and driving over an island. His blood-alcohol content was .172, Lincoln police said. Read more
An injured, naked woman was found outdoors in midtown Omaha on Monday and taken to the Nebraska Medical Center, said Officer Phil Anson, a police spokesman. Read more
A woman has filed a police report accusing Steve LeClair, an Omaha firefighter and the president of the firefighters union, of assaulting her in November. Read more
A Nebraska woman who has been charged with incest told a police officer that she wanted to have sex with her father because of a competition with her half sister to see who could do it first. Read more
Omahan 'rings' in the new year in prison for theft of $629,000 wedding ring. Read more
A club basketball coach who promised weekends of tournaments, personalized jerseys and cookie dough for fundraising took parents’ money and didn’t deliver, authorities say. Read more
Omaha ended 2018 on a high note not seen for decades — no one was criminally slain in Omaha in the final three months of the year. Read more