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Opening statements conclude first week in Boswell trial

Opening statements conclude first week in Boswell trial
LEXINGTON, NEB. - 09/25/2020 - Defendant Bailey Boswell listens as Assistant Attorney General Sandra Allen delivers the opening statement for the prosecution on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, at the Dawson County Courthouse. FRANCIS GARDLER, Journal Star

Opening statements were heard Friday morning in the First Degree Murder Trial of Bailey Boswell in the Dawson County Courthouse in Lexington. Boswell is accused in the slaying and dismemberment of 24-year-old Sydney Loofe of Lincoln in November 2017. The case was moved from Saline County due to publicity surrounding the trial of her alleged co-conspirator Aubrey Trial. Trail was previously found quality of First Degree Murder in the case that was heard in Wilber.

Prosecutor Sandra Allen of the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, opened that on November 14, 2017, Sydney Loofe went on a date with a woman who identified herself as “Audrey”. They met on the dating website Tinder. At the end of that date, they made plans to go on another date the following evening.

 

LEXINGTON, NEB. – 09/25/2020 – Assistant Attorney General Sandra Allen (center) describes to the jury how searchers were able to identify the body of Sydney Loofe by a tattoo on her upper arm on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, at the Dawson County Courthouse. FRANCIS GARDLER, Journal Star

Allen said that on November 15, 2017, while Loofe was getting ready to go to her job at Menard’s on north 27th Street in Lincoln, “Audrey” who was later determined to be defendent Bailey Boswell, and her boyfriend Aubrey Trail, were at the Home Depot on north 27th Street in Lincoln. They were purchasing tools “including a hacksaw that would be used later that evening to dismember Sydney Loofe into 14 pieces” after the pair killed Loofe.

Allen said Boswell is from Iowa and Trail was from Tennessee. They got together in late 2016 and in June 2017, they moved to Wilber, Nebraska and lived in a basement apartment of a house. The pair were in “some kind of antiquing business” and had business cards for that.

Loofe is from Neligh, Nebraska and upon graduating from high school, she began working at Menard’s in Norfolk and then ultimately transferred to the Menard’s on Lincoln’s north 27 Street.

Allen said Loofe started getting into some dating and social networking sites to meet people. Loofe met “Audrey” on Tinder on November 11, 2017. She had gone home to Neligh that weekend and they apparently connected through the Tinder app and made plans to meet on Tuesday November 14th. On Tuesday, Sydney sent Bailey her address in Lincoln for Bailey to come pick her up. Allen said it was reported that they drove around Lincoln, smoked marijuana and got to know each other. They were together for about an hour-and-a half and made plans to meet again the next night.

On the 15th, Sydney went to work for a noon to 6:00pm shift and then went home. Before going on the date, Sydney took a “selfie” picture and sent it out to friends and her mom saying she was ready for a date.

Bailey picked Sydney up at 7:00pm that evening. It was about 8:00pm before Sydney’s mother Susan Loofe, noticed the Snapchat post from her daughter and sent her a text asking why she wasn’t informed about the planned date but, never got a message back.

Around 8:40pm, Susan sent a second message to Sydney’s phone but, that message apparently never got delivered.

Sydney did not show up for work on November 16, 2017. Co-workers and friends began contacting others to determine her whereabouts. Later that afternoon, Susan Loofe learned her daughter was missing and she contacted Lincoln Police Department to do a welfare check. When officers arrived at Sydney’s residence, co-workers were already there and Sydney’s car was parked nearby. Lights were on in the residence, an officer climbed through a window and looked around the residence but, did not see any signs of forced entry or a struggle. Police advised Susan of what they had found but, had not found Sydney.

Later on Thursday night November 16th, investigators “pinged” Sydney’s phone and determined it had last “pinged” near Wilber the night before and had not been active for 24 hours. One of Sydney’s friends did some social media sleuthing which helped to develop Boswell as a person of interest in the case. It led investigators to Boswell and Trail’s apartment in Wilber.

Neighbors reported a “really strong smell of bleach” coming from the apartment on November 16th according to Allen. That led to the obtainment of a search warrant for their apartment. It was served by Saline County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from Nebraska State Patrol on Sunday November 19, 2017. Allen said it would be the first of five search warrants served on that apartment during the investigation with eventual involvement from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Allen said investigators were looking for signs that Sydney was in that apartment and signs that she was harmed. A lot of evidence was seized and many items were sent to multiple labs for analyses including University of Nebraska Medical Center, Nebraska State Patrol Crime Lab and the FBI crime lab in Quantico, VA.

A tipline was also started seeking any sightings of Boswell, Trail or Loofe. A motel employee in Spencer, Iowa responded to a Facebook post seeking persons of interest in the case.  The employee said Boswell and Trail checked into the motel there from November 23, 2017 to November 26, 2017.

Another tipline call came from an Ames, Iowa motel employee who said Boswell and Trail checked in there on November 26, 2020 and were still listed as guests. Law enforcement went there and found belongings from the pair that were abandoned but, did not locate the pair.

LEXINGTON, NEB. – 09/25/2020 – Defendant Bailey Boswell (right) looks towards the jury as District Judge Vicky Johnson (not shown) tells the jury the charges against her on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, at the Dawson County Courthouse. FRANCIS GARDLER, Journal Star

Boswell and Trail were both located and arrested on November 30, 2017 in and near a Branson, MO motel where they had been known to stay in the past. But, “still no Sydney” according to Allen.

Back in Nebraska, cell phone tower records lead investigators to rural Clay County fields and ditches looking for any signs of evidence. An empty trash bag was initially found along with a bed sheet that appeared to be “bleached” and “turned yellow”, according to Allen. It was around dusk on December 4, 2017 that the first garbage bag containing human remains were discovered. At least 6 different bags were recovered with 13 body parts found with one body part not recovered. An Omaha Pathologist examined the remains and determined cause of death to be “by homicidal means, including strangulation”.

Latex gloves, duct tape and a torn up garbage bag box were also found with the UPC code on the garbage bag box matching the UPC code on the bags Bailey was reportedly seen purchasing prior to Sydney’s death according to Allen. Allen said some denim material was found cut into shreds, with Sydney’s DNA on the denim.

Saline County Sheriff’s Office conducted searches along the Highway 41 roadside and found Sydney’s phone, phone case, driver’s license, bank cards and car keys. Additional clothing items were also found.

Allen said surveillance video from the Home Depot showed Boswell and Trail in there for 12 minutes where they “bought a hacksaw, tin snips, a utility knife and tarps”.

Surveillance would also show that after Sydney clocks in for her shift at Menards, Sydney is seen walking out of the store to relieve an employee at the guard shack as Trail is seen walking into the store and near Loofe but, she does not acknowledge him. But, after Sydney passed Trail, Allen said it appears as if Trail looks behind him to look back at Loofe.

 

LEXINGTON, NEB. – 09/25/2020 – Bailey Boswell’s attorney Todd Lancaster gives his opening statement to the jury on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, at the Dawson County Courthouse. FRANCIS GARDLER, Journal Star

Defense Attorney Todd Lancaster reminded the jury that “the State has the burden, they have to prove the allegations.” He said the defense doesn’t have that obligation but, his role is to “ensure Ms. Boswell’s constitutional rights”. The includes the right to be presumed innocent and “to force the state, if they can, to prove allegations beyond a reasonable doubt”.

Lancaster told jurors they would be weighing the evidence, to “determine what facts have been proven, what facts have not been proven and what weight be given any of those facts”. He asked them to use common sense and reason to determine what those facts mean.

There are 12 jurors plus 3 alternates…but the alternates won’t be identified until the case goes to the jury. The 3 alternates will then be excused and 12 jurors will deliberate the case.

The trial continues on Monday with the beginning of presentation of wtnesses and evidence by the prosecution.

 

 

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