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DNA analyst walks through samples taken in Loofe case

Prosecutor Sandra Allen holds up a t-shirt found in a ditch in Saline County.
Prosecutor Sandra Allen holds up a t-shirt found in a ditch in Saline County.(KOLN)
Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 12:49 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 2, 2020 at 1:45 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The prosecution continues to build their case against Bailey Boswell, who is facing first-degree murder charges in the 2017 death of 24-year-old Sydney Loofe.

Friday, the prosecution called a Nebraska State Trooper, as well as a forensic DNA analyst before wrapping up for the weekend mid-morning.

Defendant Bailey Boswell removes her mask briefly to take a drink of water during her trial.
Defendant Bailey Boswell removes her mask briefly to take a drink of water during her trial.(KOLN)

Lieutenant Lonnie Connelly testified first.

He said he was involved in a search for evidence along the same route Trail and Boswell’s cell phones were shown to have traveled from Wilber to Clay County on November 16.

Connelly said he collected a men’s shirt, underwear and socks, a gray “Bearpaw” boot, and a kitchen glove.

He initially testified that the stains on the shirt looked like bleach stains.

Defense attorney Todd Lancaster objected to this, saying Connelly didn’t test the stains to be sure they were bleach.

Prosecutor Sandra Allen asked Connelly if he’d ever done laundry and had a bleach stain similar to this, Connelly said yes, but Lancaster still objected.

Earlier testimony from Trail and Boswell’s landlords mentioned they had smelled a strong bleach smell the day after Sydney went on a date with Boswell.

The next witness was forensic DNA analyst Mellissa Hellisgo, who works at a lab in UNMC.

After giving the jury a lesson on the basics of DNA analysis, he said her lab received that green shirt and tested it for DNA by swabbing the neck and shoulder of the shirt.

“Typically in the neck of the shirt there’s a seam that runs through the neck, that often is scratchy and can collect skin cells. Some shirts also have a seam that runs through the shoulders as well,” Helligso said.

She tested to see if Trail or Boswell’s DNA was on the shirt and she found that it was.

“The statistic for that profile is it at least 326,000 times more likely to have originated from Aubrey Trail and Bailey Boswell than if it originated from two unknown individuals,” Helligso said.

According to her testimony, that is a strong probability.

Helligso also tested a pair of brown boots Trail was wearing when he was arrested.

She said a stain on them pre-tested positive for blood, but her DNA tests revealed that blood belonged to Trail himself.

Additional items she tested were a door handle, floor mat, backseat cushion, and hairs from Trail’s Ford 500 and blankets and hairs from a Chrysler 300.

Hellisgo said the door handle, floor mat and backseat cushion tested negative for Sydney Loofe’s DNA and the hairs were inconclusive or unable to be tested.

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