The family of a missing 24-year-old Nebraska woman has been left to grieve after a desperate search came to a tragic end Monday, as authorities announced they recovered her body.
Sydney Loofe, of Lincoln, was reported missing November 16 after she told friends she was meeting up with a woman she met through Tinder. An extensive search brought in multiple agencies and led investigators to many parts of Nebraska. Less than three weeks later, her body was discovered in a rural Nebraska town.
Police haven’t charged anybody in her death yet, but they’ve been holding two “persons of interest” who admitted on video to having contact with Loofe hours before her disappearance.
Loofe was one of three children and is the daughter of George and Susie Loofe.
Here’s what you need to know about the Loofe family:
1. The Loofe Family Announced That Sydney’s Body Was Found December 4
The family shared the tragic news that Sydney’s body had been recovered by authorities Monday evening. In a post to the official “Finding Sydney Loofe” Facebook page, the family wrote an emotional message accompanied by a news article reporting her body had been found.
“It’s with heavy hearts that we share this most recent update with you all,” the post said. “Please continue to pray for Sydney and our entire family. May God grant eternal rest unto thee. We love you Sydney.”
The message was a tragic update on the search, which ended after 19 days. Sydney’s body was found in Clay Center, a rural town 90 miles west-southwest of Lincoln. Investigators said they suspect foul play in her death, but nobody has been charge as of yet.
However, investigators named two “persons of interest” one week prior. Aubrey Trail, 51, and Bailey Boswell, 23, were arrested in Missouri on warrants unrelated to Loofe’s disappearance. They remained there on a federal hold and were being interviewed by federal agents.
The arrests came just hours after the pair released several videos on social media, indicating they’ve been wronged by police and the press and had nothing to do with Loofe’s disappearance.
In one of the videos, Boswell confirms that she met Loofe through Tinder, saying that she often used the name “Audrey” on the mobile application. She said that she met Loofe “on a Tuesday,” and she picked her up from her home. After doing so, Boswell said the pair drove around Lincoln, smoking weed before she dropped her back off at her house. She added that the next night, November 15, she picked up Loofe again, doing much of the same. This time, though, they went to Boswell’s home, where they smoked more marijuana and she provided Loofe a 1/4-ounce of it, she claimed.
“I went to take her home and she asked me to drop her off at a friends house, so I did so,” Boswell said in the video. “I gave her my number, we were planning on going to the casino that weekend. I haven’t heard from her since. I just, I really don’t even know what else to say.”
Boswell said she felt sorry for Loofe’s family, adding that she “didn’t have anything to do with” her disappearance.
“I hope that Sydney is found very soon, she is a sweet, amazing girl,” she said.
Trail said in the video that he’s also offering his support and prayers to the Loofe family.
“I pray for Sydney, I hope she’s found soon,” he said in the video. “I wish the family the best, I’m sorry that she wasn’t with you on Thanksgiving.”
Read more about Trail and Loofe below:
2. Loofe Was Supposed to Have Thanksgiving Dinner With Her Family & Didn’t Return Their Calls & Texts
When Loofe, a native of Neligh, went missing, her parents were quick to release photographs showing her description. They found out she was missing at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving and feared she was abducted.
Though she lived on her own in Lincoln — about three hours away — and worked at a Menards home improvement store, she stayed in contact with her parents quite often. So, when she didn’t respond to messages, George and Susie Loofe went to her apartment. They were among the first to enter her residence, turning over a laptop to investigators and noting that nothing unusual was found inside. Her cell phone, ID and debit card weren’t found in her apartment, and her car was in her driveway, they told police
That begged the question of how she got to Wilber, where her cell phone last pinged before powering off.
Loofe’s parents said they planned to have Thanksgiving dinner together, and Sydney had to work the next day for Black Friday.
“Someone knows something,” George Loofe said at a press conference. “Please do the right thing.”
They set up a Facebook page, Finding Sydney Loofe, to help share photos of her and encouraged tips to pour in. The family also asked for assistance in putting up flyers around the city.
“People have donated billboards and a truck company with 10,000 employees is passing out flyers to their truckers to put up wherever they go,” Susie said to The Huffington Post. “We’re very grateful for the good people volunteering.”
They posted a message to the Facebook page upon learning she was missing.
We’ve been trying to contact our daughter, Sydney, since Wednesday evening, 11/15/17. She went on a date that night and could have possibly been in the Wilber, NE area. Her phone is either turned off or has died, so please don’t try to contact her. If anyone has any information or has seen her since then, please contact us. Please pray for her safe return.
3. Sydney’s Father Is a Principal at the High School She Graduated From
George Loofe is a principal at Neligh-Oakdale High School, a position he’s held for the last 16 years, according to his biography. In February, the Neligh-Oakdale Board of Education approved the extension of his contract through June 2, 2018, with an annual salary of $105,560.
Sydney attended the same high school her father was a principal at and graduated in 2011. At the school, she played basketball, volleyball and golf and was in the band. In addition to the athletics, she also kept stats for the basketball and volleyball teams in her spare time and took part in a play in 2011, the Lincoln Journal-Star reported.
Following graduation, Sydney moved to Lincoln after she agreed to transfer for work. She has two other siblings, a brother and a sister.
4. Sydney’s Mother Is a Teacher in the School District
Susie Loofe, Sydney’s mother, works as an elementary resource teacher within the Neligh-Oakdale Public School District. She graduated from Wayne State College in 1983 with a degree in special education and teaching, her LinkedIn profile said.
Susie Loofe was interviewed by The Huffington Post just days after her daughter was reported missing and said police flew to Wilber to speak to Trail and Boswell.
“The Lincoln Police Department has flown down there to speak with them,” Susie said to HuffPost. “We’re hoping to get answers and find her.”
Susie described Sydney to HuffPost as being the middle of three children and a “responsible young adult.” She said her daughter loved to spend time with her family, fishing and her cat. When the community held a vigil to honor Sydney and help locate her, her parents opted not to attend because it was “too difficult,” she told HuffPost.
5. Sydney’s Brother & Sister Majored in Education at the University of Nebraska
Sydney’s sister, MacKenzie also attended Neligh-Oakdale high school and, according to her Facebook page, works at a child development facility in Lincoln. She earned a degree in elementary education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Ever since her sister disappeared, MacKenzie posted messages to social media in an effort to help find her.
Sydney’s brother, Levi Loofe, works as a teacher and coach at Valentine High School in Valentine, Nebraska. He also graduated from Neligh-Oakdale and studied education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and was also active in the search to find his sister.
Since she was reported missing November 16, the family started an online fundraiser to raise money to help find Sydney.
“We are not asking you to fund our hotel rooms or any personal expenses,” George Loofe wrote. “Every penny we raise will go directly to the search for Sydney. Any funds that remain after Sydney comes home will be donated to an organization to help locate other missing and/or exploited individuals.”
As soon as the family published the news that her body was located, hundreds of people from across the globe expressed their condolences to the Loofe family on Facebook.
“I’m devastated by this news. I’m heartbroken for your family. It’s always hard to know what to say, but I’m thankful that she’s back with you. You can lay her to rest. She may not walk by your side, but she’ll always be in your heart and mind. Feeling your sadness in San Diego. God Bless the Loofe Family. 💜” Facebook user Michelle Gorman wrote.
“My heart aches for you all,” Facebook user Shannon Hanneman Maly wrote. “I was hoping for a different outcome as you all were. I wish I could wrap my arms around you and help you feel better. Pleas know that I am so very sorry for your heartache and loss. There are a lot of people who greatly care. Bless you all.”
Vigils in Sydney’s honor have been planned across Nebraska.