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True crime writer allegedly extorted prison nurse through fake murder-for-hire plot against husband at behest of Tinder match dismemberment killer on death row

Aubrey Trail, Sydney Loofe, Samantha Al-Rekabi

Aubrey Trail (Taney County Sheriff’s Office), Sydney Loofe (Facebook), Samantha Al-Rekabi (Lancaster County mug shot)

A true crime book writer from Lincoln, Nebraska, working on a project about the 2017 dismemberment murder of 24-year-old Sydney Loofe allegedly developed a “romantic interest” with the Tinder killer inmate responsible for the horrific crime and extorted a corrections nurse at his behest before he was even sentenced to death row.

The investigation into Samantha Al-Rekabi, 55, began in March 2021 after another inmate reported a “romantic interest” between her and Aubrey Trail, now 57, and came forward with information about a “compromised” nurse, ABC affiliate KLKN reported.

The nurse, who reportedly left the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services Reception and Treatment Center job in March 2021, had allegedly been “manipulated” by Trail into smuggling a phone and chewing tobacco behind bars.

An affidavit reportedly detailed that Trail successfully learned personal details about the nurse’s home life and used her unhappy marriage, with the help of Al-Rekabi, to convince her that there was an active murder-for-hire plot against the nurse’s husband.

State authorities, with the benefit of the nurse’s December 2021 interview with the FBI, reportedly alleged that Al-Rekabi committed theft by extortion, getting closer to the victim because they were “true crime buffs” and spending time bonding over that commonality at the suspect’s residence.

Trail allegedly told the nurse about the hit and convinced her that only $25,000 could call it off.

Al-Rekabi is accused of taking a ride with the nurse to a bank where the then-corrections employee withdrew the funds in February 2021. As the nurse was withdrawing the money, largely from retirement savings, Al-Rekabi was allegedly on the phone with Trail keeping him updated.

Lincoln Journal Star reported that investigators have Al-Rekabi on recordings with Trail talking about it being “crazy” that the nurse was “gonna get her pension out just (to) give it to us.” Al-Rekabi allegedly commented that the nurse’s first mistake was smuggling in a phone for Trail.

When reportedly confronted as recently as April by Nebraska State Patrol investigators, Al-Rekabi allegedly admitted she was the person on those recordings, but the suspect claimed she and Trail were “joking” about the extortion plot, and she further claimed that she, too, had been manipulated by the death row inmate. She was scared that the death row inmate would target her and her inmate son with violence next, according to her reported version of the story.

Judging by the felony charge Al-Rekabi faces, the alleged facts were no laughing matter to authorities.

Under Nebraska law, theft by extortion is committed when a person “obtains property, money, or other thing of value of another” by threatening to “[i]nflict bodily injury on anyone or commit any other criminal offense.”

Samantha Al-Rekabi zoom hearing, Aubrey Trail

Samantha Al-Rekabi appears in court for a Zoom hearing (KLKN/screengrab), Aubrey Trail (Nebraska Department of Corrections)

Al-Rekabi was arrested Sunday and appeared in court for the first time on Monday, resulting in a $5,000 bond in the case. A Lancaster County jail search did not show her in custody.

Aubrey Trail was sentenced to death in June 2021 after luring Sydney Loofe through Tinder to his apartment, with the help of his accomplice/girlfriend Bailey Boswell, who went on to receive a life sentence of her own in November 2021.

Bailey Boswell

Bailey Boswell (Taney County Sheriff’s Office)

Together, the convicted killers dismembered the store clerk’s body and disposed of the victim’s remains in trash bags that were left in rural Nebraska.

At sentencing, nearly two full years after Aubrey Trail slashed his own throat in court and loudly insisted on Bailey Boswell’s innocence, acknowledged that he has “done some terrible things in my life.”

The killer said his girlfriend, Boswell, lured Loofe to his apartment by matching on Tinder because they wanted her to join their cult. Instead, Trail claimed, Loofe “freaked out” and he decided to kill her because he was worried she would tell authorities about the “lifestyle” which he and Boswell were living.

Samantha Al-Rekabi zoom hearing, Aubrey Trail

Samantha Al-Rekabi appears in court for a Zoom hearing (KLKN/screengrab), Aubrey Trail (Nebraska Department of Corrections)

During Boswell’s trial, witnesses testified that she and Trail spoke of “gaining powers” by killing innocent people. It was also alleged that Trail boasted about drinking Loofe’s blood and bragged about her strangulation murder, carried out with an electrical cord.

At the time, Trail said he “could care less” about what happens to him. More recently, he sought to speed up his execution. A judge was not convinced he had the “right to die on demand.”

Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report. 

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.