True-crime writer helps murderer commit extortion against a prison nurse

LINCOLN, NE – A renowned true-crime author is facing charges of felony theft by extortion, accused of aiding a death row inmate in Nebraska in a $25,000 extortion scheme against a prison nurse. The author, Samantha Al-Rekabi, was reportedly researching a book about the 2017 murder of 24-year-old Sydney Loofe, a case in which the inmate, Aubrey Trail, was convicted.

Trail, 56, was sentenced to death for the brutal murder of Loofe, whom he met through the dating app Tinder. According to prosecutors, Trail strangled Loofe with an electrical cord and dismembered her body into 14 pieces, later discarding them in various rural roadside ditches across Nebraska.

The gruesome case took a twist when Al-Rekabi, in her quest for information for her book, allegedly developed a relationship with Trail and became involved in his extortion plot against the prison nurse in 2021. The nurse, who also had an interest in true crime, was befriended by Al-Rekabi during her research.

The plot thickened when Trail started communicating with the nurse, exploiting her relationship troubles with her husband. He reportedly convinced her that he had hired a hitman to kill her husband, a situation that could only be averted by paying him $25,000. Trail also allegedly persuaded the nurse to smuggle contraband items, including a phone, chewing tobacco, and a firearm, into the prison.

Al-Rekabi, according to reports, was present when the nurse withdrew the funds from her bank. In an interview with the Nebraska State Patrol, Al-Rekabi claimed that Trail had coerced her into the extortion scheme, threatening to harm her or her son, also an inmate, if she didn’t comply. The nurse resigned from her job in 2021.

Phone calls obtained by investigators suggest that Al-Rekabi and Trail had discussed the extortion plot in a light-hearted manner. Al-Rekabi appeared in Lancaster County court on Wednesday and was held on a $5,000 bond.