Sydney Loofe just had to get through her shift at Menards and then it would be date night.
The 24-year-old clerk at the home improvement store in Lincoln, Neb., had been posting about the date on Snapchat and telling her friends about it the evening of Nov. 15, 2017. Loofe met her date, a woman named Bailey Boswell, on Tinder — a popular dating app — and soon Boswell would be picking up Loofe at home, according to a criminal complaint.
Loofe had told her co-worker Terra Gehring how excited she was — but the next morning, Loofe didn’t show up at work. She didn’t come home either, so her mother reported her missing to the Lincoln Police Department. Her car was still in her driveway.
“She wouldn’t do this to her family,” Gehring told Omaha’s KETV. “She respects her parents a lot, loves her parents a lot. … It’s also very strange that her phone’s off, disabled. She was always on Snapchat, posting stories.”
Police got their first lead on Nov. 16, when a landlord at an apartment complex reported a strong odor of bleach emanating from the basement. It was the basement where Boswell lived with her boyfriend, Aubrey Trail, according to a criminal complaint. After learning about Loofe’s last Tinder date, police executed a search warrant at the apartment, where they determined that somebody must have been washing the walls.
On Dec. 4, they discovered Loofe’s body dismembered inside several garbage bags, scattered along a gravel road in rural southeastern Nebraska.
The story of what allegedly happened to Loofe that night would soon unravel after police tracked down Trail and Boswell in Branson, Mo. Soon, according to the complaint, police discovered more than 140 messages Boswell exchanged with Loofe on Tinder in just four days. Trail admitted to strangling Loofe with an extension cord, police said. He said Boswell helped clean up, according to a criminal complaint.
Trail told the Omaha World-Herald in interviews that he didn’t mean to kill Loofe.
She was at his apartment, he claimed, to partake in a sexual fantasy he had about being with two women.
“It wasn’t supposed to go to the extreme it went, of course not,” Trail told the World-Herald. “It wasn’t meant that she was to die.”
On Monday, Trail and Boswell were charged with first-degree murder and abandoning of human skeletal remains, and on Tuesday prosecutors released court documents detailing Loofe’s disappearance and the investigation of her death.
According to the documents, before Loofe went to work at Menards on Nov. 15, Trail and Boswell were captured on surveillance video together at Home Depot, buying a variety of “tools and supplies.” Police allege that they used the unspecified items “in the dismemberment and disposal of Loofe’s body.”
Before he was formally charged, Trail began calling reporters at the Omaha World-Herald, telling the story piece by piece and even expressing frustration that authorities hadn’t charged him yet. What was taking so long, he wondered.
“Try me. Charge me. Let’s get justice for Sydney Loofe,” he said at one point.
He didn’t give many details at first, simply saying that “I am accountable for this” — not Boswell — and that the reasons would come later.
But impatience seemed to keep getting the best of Trail. Nine days later, on Feb. 6, he called the same reporter and told him how Loofe died: “It was suffocation,” he said. “It happened in Saline County.”
Trail and Boswell appeared in court for the first time Tuesday in orange jumpsuits as a judge read the charges against them and appointed attorneys for them. They were denied bail. They have not filed a plea yet, and the attorneys were not immediately reachable for comment.
They face the death penalty if convicted. Trail told the World-Herald that he would welcome it.
“A life for a life — that’s the rules in my world,” he said. “I should be put to death.”