CLAY CENTER — Dozens of investigators continued searching in cornfields near several dirt roads southeast of town for evidence in the death of Sydney Loofe Tuesday, a day after her body was discovered in the rural area 60 miles from where she was last seen three weeks ago.
A Nebraska State Patrol helicopter circled above the area where investigators closed several country roads in the area as they marked off several crime scenes.
An analysis of Loofe’s digital records led them to the area where they searched for answers for how Loofe’s body ended up in rural Clay County, more than 100 miles from her home in Lincoln.
“We are indeed conducting a very thorough investigation to ensure we can provide an accurate account of what happened to Sydney,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Randy Thysse said at a news conference Tuesday.
Investigators found evidence of foul play upon discovering the 24-year-old’s body Monday afternoon, Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister said at the news conference. George Loofe told the Neligh News and Leader that the family was notified of the discovery of remains believed to be his daughter shortly after 5 p.m. Monday.
The Loofes announced that their daughter’s body had been found Monday night.
An autopsy has been ordered in the case, and authorities declined to provide further details about her death Tuesday because of the pending forensic testing that’s underway.
Two people identified by law enforcement as persons of interest in the case — Aubrey Trail and Bailey Boswell — remained in custody Tuesday at the Saline County jail in Wilber. Neither had been charged with a crime related to Loofe’s disappearance or death.
Loofe, 24, was reported missing Nov. 16 after she missed work at Menards in north Lincoln.
Police have said she was last seen the night before in Wilber, after apparently going on a date with Boswell, whom she met through the online dating app Tinder.
Trail, 51, and Boswell, 23, live in Wilber but left the state after Loofe went missing. They were arrested last week in the Branson, Missouri area.
“We’re continuing to speak with Aubrey Trail, and we’ll continue to do so as long as he’s willing to do that,” said Bliemeister, who declined to say whether Boswell was also cooperating with investigators.
Trail and Boswell have denied their involvement in Loofe’s disappearance through a bizarre trio of videos posted last week on social media. While both had active arrest warrants for unrelated charges, Trail said he isn’t just a criminal, and deals antiques throughout southeast Nebraska.
“Not saying I’m a nice guy. I’m a crook, I’m a thief — have been all my life. OK? But I’m not what you’re trying to make me out to be,” Trail said in one video.
In that same video, Boswell said she and Loofe drove around Lincoln, smoked marijuana at her apartment in Wilber and then she dropped Loofe off at a friend’s house and hadn’t heard from Loofe since.
Bliemiester on Tuesday said investigators have explored the claims in the video extensively.
“The investigative efforts have not been able to confirm those particular details,” he said. “We’ll still work toward that end, but again, the analysis of the (digital records) was what led us to the discovery of who we believe to be Sydney.”
The Lincoln Police along with the FBI are leading the investigation, and FBI officials ask that anyone with information related to the case call the dedicated tipline 402-493-8688 and select Option 1.
Loofe, a Neligh native, moved to Lincoln after graduating high school in 2011 as part of a transfer in her employment with Menards, her mother, Susie, said.
Her coworkers and family said it was out of character for Loofe when she didn’t arrive for her shift as a cashier Nov. 16.
When her family couldn’t get ahold of her, they reported her missing to police.
The Loofe family took to social media the following days to raise awareness about her disappearance in hopes of aiding the search.
Billboards along the interstate in Omaha and in central and downtown Lincoln broadcasted her case, which led the evening news for several area television stations.
In an interview with the Neligh News and Leader Monday night, George Loofe expressed gratitude to those who prayed for their daughter, posted flyers, spread word on social media and “everyone that had anything to do with the search for Sydney.”
“The entire state and beyond tried to help, and, in our minds, a lot of good people exist in this world,” Sydney’s father told the newspaper. “Sydney just happened to run into someone that wasn’t.”