WILBER, Neb. — The search for a missing 24-year-old woman continued well into the night Wednesday at a pond in this rural community, marking a cold end to a day that had been jarred by a video from two people authorities are hoping to interview.
Volunteer firefighters were working to drain the pond, a couple of blocks north of Wilber-Clatonia High School. At 10:30 p.m., the exposed shoreline was a mucky mess, but there were no apparent clues to the whereabouts of Sydney Loofe, who has been missing for two weeks. With temperatures in the 30s, a firefighter in hip waders trod through the water as lights attached to two firetrucks illuminated the scene.
Earlier in the day, a nine-minute video released by two persons of interest circulated on social media.
Bailey Boswell is wearing sunglasses and a black hoodie in the video. Only half of Aubrey Trail’s face is visible.
A day after Lincoln police named the pair as “persons of interest,” they posted the video to the “Finding Sydney Loofe” Facebook page, offering to tell “our side.”
It appears that the video was taken inside a vehicle with a sunroof.
Sydney Loofe was last seen Nov. 15 in Wilber, Nebraska, about 40 miles south of Lincoln in Saline County. Her family reported her missing Nov. 16. Police say the circumstances surrounding her disappearance are concerning.
Wednesday, Lincoln police said investigators were searching for Loofe in Saline and Gage Counties. One place being searched was a pond in the Wilber area, which was the last community to record a ping from Loofe’s cellphone.
The FBI and other law enforcement agencies will discuss Loofe’s disappearance at a press conference in Lincoln this morning.
Authorities have asked for the public’s help in locating Trail, 51, and Boswell, 23, both from Wilber.
Trail says in the video that after looking at news reports and listening to police statements, he and Boswell thought it was time to share their side of the story because “they’re chasing us around like dogs.”
“We’re not trying to defend anything,” he said. “We’re not trying to make you believe anything. We just feel we should get to say our side since everyone else gets to say theirs.”
In the video, Trail says he had been in contact with the Lincoln Police Department to tell them what he knew about the Loofe case, but they eventually told him to stop calling them. He also said he and Boswell have provided statements to police with the help of a Falls City attorney. A phone message left for that attorney was not returned Wednesday.
“As far as I know, I’m not wanted for anything,” Trail said. “I’m a ‘person of interest,’ and I’m not really running from anything.”
Boswell said in the video that she went on two dates with Loofe. On the first, the pair drove around Lincoln and smoked marijuana before Boswell dropped Loofe off.
The next day, Boswell said, she picked up Loofe again. The two again drove around and smoked marijuana, Boswell said, before they went to Boswell’s house and smoked some more. Boswell said she then dropped Loofe off at a friend’s house and she hasn’t heard from her since.
Both Trail and Boswell said they hoped Loofe is found soon. Trail also said he was sorry Loofe couldn’t be with her family on Thanksgiving.
The video later was taken off Facebook, but a copy was posted on YouTube.
Loofe’s father, George Loofe, who was contacted Wednesday, said he has no comment about the video other than “this is the police’s job, not mine.”
Officer Angela Sands, a spokeswoman for the Lincoln Police Department, said Trail and Boswell still are persons of interest and as of Wednesday afternoon had not turned themselves in to police.
Boswell said in the video that a warrant had been issued for her. Court records show she was ticketed in April 2016 in Lincoln on suspicion of possession of an ounce or less of marijuana, first offense, and use/possession of drug paraphernalia. She failed to appear in court in May 2016, and a warrant was issued. Her address at the time was listed as Trenton, Missouri.
In a Nov. 21 court filing, the Saline County attorney charged Trail in a warrant with possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person and being a habitual criminal. Trail previously had been convicted of second-degree forgery and issuing a bad check. The warrant was withdrawn Nov. 22.
Trail is described as 6 feet tall and 284 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. Boswell is 5-foot-8 and 150 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes.
A friend of Loofe’s, Terra Gehrig, has said she received a text from Loofe on Nov. 15, saying she had been on a date the night before with a woman she met online. It went well, Loofe told Gehrig, and the pair was planning to go out again that night. But after Loofe didn’t show up for work at a Lincoln Menards on Nov. 16, her family contacted authorities.
Loofe has a spinal disorder and a distinctive walk, Gehrig said. She also has distinctive tattoos — the words “Everything will be wonderful someday” on her arm, a yin yang symbol below her elbow and “Believe” on her wrist.
Anyone with knowledge of Loofe’s whereabouts is asked to call Lincoln police at 402-441-6000.
World-Herald staff writer Mara Klecker contributed to this report.