WILBER — A young Lincoln woman testified Monday about how in July 2017 she met Bailey Boswell on Tinder, then Aubrey Trail, and things quickly turned from sex to talk of killing and even picking out a target.
A.H., 22 — just two years younger than Sydney Loofe was when she was killed, dismembered and dumped in ditches along rural roads in Clay County — told the jury at Trail’s murder trial for Loofe’s death how Trail took her to Wilber and showed her pictures of his girls on his cellphone. All naked.
As A.H. and Trail waited for Boswell to get there, they watched TV, and Trail told her about a different lifestyle he could provide. She said he told her he could pay her rent and car payments and put her through nursing school.
The $200 he gave her before she left would turn into a weekly allowance.
But first, just a couple of days later, Boswell picked A.H. up. They got their fingernails done, ate and bought lingerie, all with cash from Trail. Later, in the basement apartment in Wilber, Trail said he wanted to see them in the lingerie. Sex followed.
A.H. said not long after that, Trail told her about 12 other women he called his girls or his witches and asked if she wanted to be the 13th.
“He said I could leave whenever I wanted until I took my first soul,” she said.
When State Assistant Attorney General Sandra Allen asked what Trail meant by that, A.H. answered matter-of-factly: “To kill someone.”
A.H. said Trail was convincing; it all sounded so real.
He made money by selling stolen antiques. Trail bought A.H. things and wanted her to call him daddy. He said he was a vampire and could fly and read minds. He told her some of his witches could leave their bodies.
At that point, A.H. said, she still believed what he was saying.
“It all made sense,” she said.
She described orgies where Trail would get a massage from her, Boswell and a third woman; then, if he wanted to, they’d all have sex. Sometimes it involved choking, she said.
A.H. said Trail told her he had killed multiple people but it wasn’t his turn to do it anymore. He didn’t get anything from it. And he would pay the women to do it, something like 10 grand for 10 people, she said.
In order to become a witch, she said Trail had told her, she had to kill someone and take their last breath. At first she agreed.
One day in August, they went to the Walmart in Beatrice to meet a potential victim. A.H. and Boswell shopped for groceries at first. But then a blonde woman with glasses, who Boswell had met on Tinder, showed up in the produce area.
At first A.H. said Trail and Boswell told her they were looking for someone "who could be one of us.” But Trail later asked A.H. if she would want the woman to be her first.
“First what?” the prosecutor asked.
“Kill,” A.H. answered.
She said once or twice a week Trail would talk about torturing and killing people, which he said would give them power.
“It was just like regular conversation for him,” she said.
But one day, A.H. said she looked at herself in a mirror in a dressing room and started shaking. She said she didn’t recognize the person in the mirror, went outside and told Boswell she was done. She wanted out.
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And she got out. Trail and Boswell threatened if she told anyone, they’d kill her family, she said.
It wasn’t long after that Trail and Boswell would be on the run from investigators who were looking into Loofe’s disappearance after she matched with Boswell on Tinder and the two went on a date Nov. 15, 2017.
Law enforcement caught up with Trail and Boswell at a hotel in Branson, Missouri, on Nov. 30, 2017.
Trail later would give 11 or 12 interviews with law enforcement, by FBI Special Agent Mike Maseth’s count. But it came with a caution.
"He said 50% of what I tell you is bull----,” Maseth testified earlier Monday.
In the end, the jury will be asked to sort the truth from fiction.
Maseth said Boswell had a list of women in her clutch purse when she was arrested. After each name was a corresponding "magical power” they were said to have. One could see danger. One could heal. After another, it simply said “fire."
It was a first reference to the occult in the investigation, but not the last.
Maseth said Trail brought up a group of “treacherous women” he was involved with, but didn’t want to talk about it on camera. The special agent said at one point, Trail asked him and Lincoln Police Investigator Matt Franken to go discuss it with him in the bathroom. One at a time, he whispered the same thing in their ear.
“He said witches kill, a life for a life, and they gain more power when they kill,” the special agent said.
Trail often spoke in cryptic terms, Maseth said, and also spent a lot of time talking about sexual activity in the apartment in Wilber. Trail referred to it as freaky sex.
In an interview Dec. 4, 2017, Trail talked about the dark side of human nature, how everyone cranes their necks to see gruesome things, such as car wrecks. Maseth said Trail spoke of the deepest, darkest thing a person would do and what price they would pay for it.
That day, the day investigators began finding Loofe’s remains in rural Clay County, was the first time Trail said that Loofe had agreed to participate in a sexual fantasy for $5,000.
Trail said Loofe wasn’t supposed to die.
Off camera the next day, Maseth said, Trail told Franken where they would find Loofe’s head, near a grove of trees.
Later, on a piece of paper, Trail drew a map that he said showed how he had placed the pieces of Loofe's body. At the top was a smiley face with lines around it.
He said that’s where he placed Loofe’s head. But it didn’t match up with where it was found.
Maseth said Trail also claimed they had missed two little bags in rural Clay County. One with her blood, the other with her soul. Trail wouldn’t say what he meant, he said.
On cross examination, attorney Joe Murray focused on all the facts Trail had admitted to, which Maseth acknowledged. Trail had taken responsibility for dismembering Loofe's body, to taking her remains to Clay County and to leaving the pieces in ditches there. He'd also admitted to using bleach at the apartment to clean up.
Trail says Loofe’s death was an accident. The state alleges it was murder. It's seeking the death penalty.
Trail hasn’t been in the courtroom since June 24, when he said Boswell was innocent and slashed at his throat with a sharp object.