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Jurors spend sobering morning looking at gruesome photos of recovered body parts in Bailey Boswell trial
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Jurors spend sobering morning looking at gruesome photos of recovered body parts in Bailey Boswell trial

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Jurors at Bailey Boswell's murder trial spent a sobering morning looking at gruesome photos of body parts, some found sticking out of garbage bags, all left scattered in ditches and farm fields in Clay County.

What had started with a missing persons report Nov. 16, 2017, quickly struck investigators as suspicious.

Sydney Loofe, a 24-year-old Lincoln woman, had disappeared after a Tinder date with Boswell, never to be seen or heard from again.

Until a Lincoln Police investigator tracked down her remains by following electronic bread crumbs of Boswell's and Aubrey Trail's phones.

As hope faded they would find Loofe alive, Officer Bob Hurley started plotting points where their phones had pinged or "shook hands with" cellphone towers to see where they may have stopped to dump a body.

But investigators had little warning of what they would find.

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On Dec. 4, 2017, a chilly day with gusting winds, more than 50 law enforcement officers headed out to Clay County to try to cover a 30-square-mile stretch by foot, searching for clues.

Hurley sent them north of County Road 308 and Road S near Edgar where, based on phone records, it looked as if Boswell and Trail had slowed or stopped.

Within minutes, Cory Townsend of the Nebraska State Patrol called back and said he had found something, Hurley recalled.

That's where they found a black plastic bag with arms, including part of a right arm with a tattoo, "It will all be wonderful someday." Just like Loofe's.

"Was that the first body part that was found?" Assistant Attorney General Mike Guinan asked.

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"Yes," Hurley answered.

Townsend said searchers had stopped in the first conceivable place someone could conceal a body, a cattail slough, then made a picket line and quickly started finding things they thought could be something. A portion of a map. A sheet or shower curtain with stains that could be blood.

Then, one of the officers, still on the gravel and looking into the ditch, said: "Hey, I've got something here."

Townsend headed over to where he was.

"This is what I saw. It's a bag that was partially torn open with human remains protruding from the bag," he said.

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Because it soon would be dark and the wind was so fierce they could barely hear each other, they secured the scene and waited until morning to continue with the recovery, FBI Special Agent Eli McBride said.

On Thursday morning, he spent more than two hours on the stand, testifying about each of 17 scenes where they found body parts or other evidence, like clothes, garbage bag boxes and a tarp, during searches all day Dec. 5, 2017.

Prosecutors offered photos from each scene, where orange flags marked bags and severed body parts, which had been found on both sides of Road S and off Road 305. The defense had unsuccessfully tried to keep the gruesome photos from going in front of the jury.

Boswell wiped away tears as McBride stood before the jury, pointing to a part of his leg to demonstrate the part of Loofe's leg seen in the picture.

In all, he said, Loofe's body had been cut into 14 pieces. They recovered all but one, a piece of her upper left arm.

Trial is set to continue Friday morning.

Sydney Loofe's mom testifies at Boswell murder trial about her daughter's last days

Photos from Aubrey Trail's trial

Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSpilger.

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Public safety reporter

Lori Pilger is a Norfolk native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been a public safety reporter for the Journal Star since 2005.

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