Witnesses detail how electronic evidence led to multiple breaks in the Sydney Loofe case

Published: Jun. 25, 2019 at 10:41 AM CDT
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Day 8 of the murder trial of Sydney Loofe is underway, and will once again proceed without the defendant, Aubrey Trail, who chose not to appear on Wednesday.

Trail was taken to the hospital with minor injuries after he slashed his throat in court on Monday after shouting "Bailey is innocent and I curse you all."

On Tuesday, testimony from multiple law enforcement officials detailed the days after Loofe's disappearance, and what led to finding her remains.

In the days after Loofe, a 24-year-old Lincoln woman, disappeared, her accused killers left a trail of electronic evidence behind.

The prosecutors in the Loofe trial called witnesses after witness Tuesday that described the actions they believe Trail and his co-defendant Bailey Boswell took between November 16 and November 30, 2017.

First, witnesses described how they tracked Trail and Boswell down once they were identified as persons of interest.

Lincoln Police Investigator Matt Franken said after searching Trail and Boswell’s Wilber apartment they discovered the names of three women who they believed knew the couple. The court isn’t allowing their names to be released.

Franken said investigators interviewed the women and learned more about Trail and Boswell. They also looked into cell phone data and learned one of their phones had connected to a cell tower near casinos in Council Bluffs. Investigators got surveillance video of Trail and Boswell at a casino.

Police also set up a tipline. This is what led Jenny Bloom, a hotel employee in Ames, Iowa, to discover two people wanted in a missing person case stayed at her hotel.

Bloom said Trail and Boswell checked into the Grandstay Hotel on November 26. That’s ten days after Loofe was last seen.

Bloom said they stayed three nights and paid in cash. She said they both seemed very nice.

On Tuesday, November 28, Bloom said she was at home after her shift at the hotel when she got on social media and saw a post about the Loofe case. She saw the name Bailey Boswell and saw her mugshot and knew she recognized them.

“I knew without a doubt that’s who I checked in, so I called the tipline,” Bloom said.

By the time an FBI investigator got to the hotel, Trail and Boswell had already left, said FBI analyst Jackie Hann on the witness stand.

In the hotel room they found two bags. Inside the bags were two maps, one of Iowa and one of the Texas/Mexico border, four sex toys and a ball cap Trail had been seen wearing.

FBI agent Mike Maseth was the next to take the stand.

He described how a Facebook post Boswell and Trail made led them to find and arrest the two murder suspects.

On Nov.29, 2017 Trail and Boswell posted two videos online proclaiming their innocence and wishing for Loofe’s safe return home.

Investigators were able to track down Boswell’s phone number through the videos. When Maseth requested data on the phone number he learned two key facts- first, that the phone was in the area of Branson, Missouri and second, that the phone had made a call to Windmill Inn in Branson.

“I knew that Trail and Boswell had stayed at the Windmill Inn with a few other people in the past, so I said we need to call Branson and get someone down there to as soon as possible,” Maseth said.

He said local law enforcement went to the hotel and confirmed that Trail and Boswell’s car was in the parking lot.

The pair was arrested around 6:00 a.m. on November 30th.

An investigator from the FBI and Lincoln Police flew to Branson later that morning to interview Trail and Boswell. They haven’t discussed that interview in court yet.

While Trail and Boswell were in custody, officials still didn’t know where Loofe was.

This is where electronic evidence led to a break in the case once again.

Lincoln Police Investigator Robert Hurley testified next. He described how he used cell phone data to find out where Boswell and Trail had been in the days since Loofe was last seen.

Hurley said he discovered that Trail and Boswell traveled to Clay Center on November 16. Using cell phone data he was able to map out the route they took and even see how fast they were going on the way there.

This is what led him to discover the area where Loofe’s body was left on December 4.

“I’m looking for where stuff doesn’t add up, to where they slow down and only go 10-40 feet in 30 seconds,” Hurley said. “Lots of areas where they slowed down and could have disposed of something.”

Hurley narrowed the search down to the area of an intersection in rural Clay County and sent a team of investigators there.

Investigator Cory Townsend with the Nebraska State Patrol was sent immediately. He and a team started searching through the high grasses and ditches and started finding potential evidence.

First they found a tarp with red stains on it, then a stained sheet and an empty black trash bag, Towsend said.

Then one of Townsend’s team members told him he thought he found something in a ditch.

I looked down and saw a black plastic bag and saw what appeared to be human remains,” he said.

Townsend explained the discovery in a very solemn tone. The prosecution only showed the jury photos of Loofe’s remains, the family was shielded.

They immediately secured the scene until a team of investigators could come.

Special Agent Eli McBride with the FBI testified that he drove to Clay Center to investigate the bag that was found.

McBride said he saw a black bag with holes in it and a human body part sticking out. Nearby were two other body parts. One of which was Loofe’s arm, he said.

“There was a tattoo on the arm that I knew from photos of Sydney, I knew that was the same tattoo she had on her arm,” McBride said.

McBride said they secured the area and planned to come back and finish searching the next morning.

He said more than 50 people from different law enforcement agencies showed up to help.

They ended up finding 17 different areas where evidence was left. This includes 14 different body parts, cut up clothing, stained fabric, an empty box of trash bags, plastic rubber gloves and a sex toy.

Court adjourned around 5:00 p.m.

The prosecution said they’ll continue going over the results of the search Wednesday morning. They’ll also start getting into the lab results from evidence seized throughout the investigation.