Aubrey Trail came to the defense of the woman he called his girlfriend Monday as a cloud of suspicion hangs over them in the disappearance and death of Lincoln woman Sydney Loofe.
In an exclusive phone interview with the Journal Star, Trail said he and Bailey Boswell are “obviously suspects” in the FBI’s probe into what happened to Loofe, who was found dead Dec. 4 in rural Clay County. The FBI has called them persons of interest in the case.
Loofe was last seen in Wilber on Nov. 15, where she went on a date arranged on the app Tinder. Boswell and Trail were the last two believed to have seen her alive, according to investigators.
In two phone calls lasting 26 minutes from the Saline County jail, Trail said Boswell, who has been accused of felonies but never convicted, had nothing to do with Loofe’s death.
“I am not an innocent party in many things, but don’t try to hang other people because of things I have done,” said Trail, who has been convicted of 11 felonies mostly related to theft and fraud.
Asked if he was involved in Loofe’s death, Trail said, “As far as myself, I won’t make a statement.”
Trail said he would not answer any potentially incriminating questions on the recorded jail call. His comments Monday, while limited, provide the most recent insights into an investigation that the FBI has kept largely quiet since Loofe was found dead.
Lacking more concrete information, rumors and theories have swirled since law enforcement officials gave their last major update in the case — a Dec. 5 news conference confirming Loofe’s body had been found and foul play was suspected.
Many speculated the case could be tied to other disappearances from the Lincoln area or across the country.
The investigation into Loofe’s disappearance and death does not appear to be related to any others, FBI spokesman Huston Pullen said Monday: “There is nothing to suggest otherwise.”
At first, the case seemed like many other missing persons cases in Lincoln. Loofe’s family spread word about the search for the 24-year-old Menards cashier, and almost two weeks after Loofe’s disappearance, police asked for the public’s help finding Boswell and Trail.
Trail, 51, and Boswell, 23, met in the fall of 2016 in St. Joseph, Missouri. Trail declined to give more details, but the man originally from Tennessee described the Iowa native as his girlfriend.
They moved to Wilber several months ago and were involved in antique dealings, they have said. Trail said he owns the company A & B Antiques LLC.
The pair learned they were being sought in the investigation via news reports online, Trail said. They posted their own videos on social media in response, denying their involvement in the case.
Boswell, in a video she posted online, said she went on a date with Loofe, drove her to the apartment where she and Trail lived in Wilber, smoked marijuana, then took Loofe to a friend’s house.
Investigators had not been able to verify that Loofe was left with anyone, and unspecified digital records led them to Clay County, more than 100 miles from her home in Havelock, Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister said.
On Monday, Trail said cellphone records wouldn’t necessarily implicate Boswell, as the pair had more than 20 phones in their Wilber apartment and many people had access to them.
“I like phones,” Trail said.
Investigators were quickly looking for cellphones because Loofe had talked about going on a date with someone named Audrey, whom she met online, friends said.
Police now believe that was Boswell.
Boswell and Trail were arrested by federal investigators outside their hotel near Branson, Missouri, on Nov. 30, after Trail had posted a video on social media saying the pair planned to turn themselves in.
He said Monday they were waiting until check-out time, and that federal agents surrounded Boswell when she left the room to get coffee.
They were taken to the Saline County jail in Wilber, where they remain on pre-trial detention after a federal grand jury indicted them for transporting stolen property across state lines. The charge is unrelated to Loofe’s death.
They have pleaded not guilty in the case.
Both Trail and his attorney have said they believe that charge is being used to hold them as the FBI investigation continues.
“We are still being called persons of interest, but, as no other names have been mentioned, we are obviously suspects,” Trail said.
Trail has spoken with investigators three times, and has offered to take a polygraph and asked that his exchanges be recorded, he said.
While perhaps worded differently each time, Trail insists his account to law enforcement has been consistent and straightforward.
“We’ve been held for weeks here,” Trail said. “Everyone knows basically what it’s on.”