Trudy Appleby…missing 22 years.

Another year has come and gone, and yet again, I am writing about Trudy Appleby.

Trudy Appleby was my neighbor girl.  She was bright, energetic, full of love, light, hope and happiness.  She was a regular in our house, and any given day you could find her skipping down the road to come visit.  The last time we saw Trudy was the evening of August 20th, 1996.  As she left, she said she would call my daughter the next morning and would see us all the next day.  That never happened.

Trudy Appleby went missing the morning of August 21st, 1996.  A neighbor saw her leaving the driveway in a grey car being driven by a white male, perhaps in his 20’s, with long, dark, wavy hair and wearing a ball cap.   She never returned home.

Missing flyers were printed and passed out everywhere anyone could think of.  Billboards of her missing flyer were put up along roads and highways.  We hoped she would be found within hours, then the hours turned to days, the days turned to weeks, the weeks turned to months, the months turned to years, and the years turned to decades.  It has been over 2 decades since Trudy disappeared without a trace…not a trace.  We all know little girls don’t go *poof* into thin air.

We are going on 22 years now that Trudy has been missing.  22 years of loved ones not knowing where she is, or who she was with.  22 years of searching for her, hoping she would come home, hoping she was alive and well, but thinking it was/is a good possibility that she may not be alive.  We all simply do not know what happened to her and where she is.  The not knowing…that’s awful.

Last year, the Moline Police Department released a name of a “person of interest” in the case.  It seems a witness finally came forward and stated she was seen later the morning of her disappearance in a car with a William “Ed” Smith in a neighborhood on Campbell’s Island.   Unfortunately, that witness did not have any other information to offer.  It took the witness 21 years to speak up about that.  Why wait so long?

Someone out there knows something.  Maybe more than one person knows.  Whoever was responsible for her disappearance had to have told someone what happened to her, and what was done with her.  Trudy was 11 years old.  She was someone’s daughter, granddaughter, niece, sister, cousin, friend.  She was a bright light in the darkness.  Her innocence was stolen, and our bright light has been snuffed out for the last 22 years.  Someone knows something, and you know who you are.  Yet you choose to harbor this terrible secret…and for what?  Who are you trying to protect?  It’s time to tell what you know…We want to bring our girl home.  Do the right thing for once in your life.  What if this were one of your loved ones?  Don’t think it can’t happen to one of your loved ones…it can.  It happened to one of mine.  It’s time to bring Trudy Appleby home.   Little girls don’t go *poof* into thin air.

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National Missing Children’s Day and Trudy Appleby

May 25th was National Missing Children’s Day.  Trudy Appleby was an 11 year old girl that disappeared August 21st, 1996 from her home in Moline, Illinois.  She was last seen leaving her driveway that morning in a grey/silver older model car with an unknown male.  Her home was near 41st St and 21st Ave in Moline.  She has never been seen or heard from since.  Each year, a vigil is held at her family’s church in hopes of keeping her story out there, so that someone will come forward.

Last year, a witness came forward and placed Trudy with William “Ed” Smith, who drove a similar vehicle.  They were seen near his residence on Campbell’s Island in East Moline that same morning.  Trudy knew this man and his family, and it is suspected she was planning on going swimming with them that day.  She never returned, and her whereabouts is unknown after the witness saw her in the vehicle.  There are no further reported sightings.  She simply “vanished”.  William “Ed” Smith died on December 23rd, 2014.

It is suspected that Trudy Appleby is no longer alive and did not survive that fateful morning.  It is believed that someone knows exactly where we can find her.

Trudy Appleby was my neighbor girl and very much like one of my own children.

Anyone with any information regarding this case is encouraged to contact their local authorities, or the Moline Police Department in Moline, IL.   Make the call….help us bring Trudy home….so we can lay her to rest. trudy flyertrudy appleby 2

Trudy Appleby Missing since August 21st, 1996

August 21st, 1996 a young girl named Trudy Appleby went missing from her home in Moline, IL.  She was last seen leaving her driveway in a grey/silver car with a male driver in his early 20’s with dark curly hair and a ball cap.  She was 11 years old.  She has never been seen or heard from since.  Trudy Appleby was my neighbor girl.  She was like one of my own kids. We lived in a good neighborhood, a safe neighborhood.

Trudy Appleby’s mother never gave up looking for her daughter.  She always held out hope that soon we would find her.  But, Trudy’s mother was worried that people would forget about her if this drug on a long time.  I promised Trudy’s mother that I would do my best to not let folks forget about her if it came to that.

Well, the days turned into weeks, the weeks into months and the months into years and the years into decades.  Trudy’s mother died in 2014 in a tragic accident never knowing what happened to her only child.

There have been leads and rumors abound since that fateful day in 1996, when a little girl seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth.  Recently, in August of this year, shortly before the 21st anniversary of her disappearance, a suspect was publicly named by the Moline Police Department.  The suspect is William “Ed” Smith, now deceased, formerly of East Moline, (Campbell’s Island)   A witness came forward to place Trudy with the suspect on the day she disappeared.

In October of this year, a search was made on Campbell’s Island after cadaver dogs detected the scent of human remains.  This was after another tip to the police.  While no human remains were found, some items were excavated and sent for processing.  Nothing has been made public about the findings at this time.

Trudy left her home with someone she knew, and met a terrible fate, never to return home.

Someone out there knows what happened to this little girl, and someone out there still knows where she is.  It is highly likely that she is no longer alive, and was buried somewhere by the perpetrators.  Someone knows what happened to her and someone knows where she is.  Her family, friends and everyone who has so diligently worked on this case for the last 21 years need to know where she can be found so we can lay her to rest.

Someone once commented that they were tired of hearing me talk about Trudy….she stated “This isn’t about YOU.”  No, it isn’t….it never has been.  It is about an 11 year old girl who never got a chance to be a little girl, or grow into an adult.  It is about a mother who died never knowing what happened to her only child. It is about a family and friends who have spent the last 21 years not knowing where she is, not knowing what happened to her.  It is about justice for Trudy Appleby.  It is about not letting anyone forget about her, and I will not stop talking about her until she is found.  Justice for Trudy! trudy flyer

 

Puppies and two of my favorite people

So, this past week has been interesting. It started with me puppysitting a litter of puppies for a couple of weeks. They are possibly THE cutest little puppies EVER. They are at the 4 week mark today, and so momma is spending a little less time with them, and I am spending a little more time. I change a lot of puppy pads (they do pretty good with those), and I get my ankles licked and chewed on quite a bit, but hey, it’s worth it because right now they are so much fun! After a stressful 10 hour day at work, they will put you in a good mood quickly. (Although I would probably not do this full time. lol )
It ended with seeing a couple of folks at the grocery store. While at HyVee I spied a couple down the other end of the produce section. I said “Oh, that looks like Mr and Mrs White…” And as I watched them walk, I thought to myself, “Oh, they are hunched over a bit….maybe it’s not them.” First of all, let me explain who Mr and Mrs White are. They are the parents of my first high school boyfriend. (My only high school boyfriend….as I was NOT a hot commodity with the boys back then.) They have always been 2 of my favorite people.
Lo and behold, as I am ready to walk out the door, here comes Mr White, and he smiles and says “I know you, but can’t remember your name.” I remind him and he says “Oh, feel free to stop by the house to visit anytime you are in the neighborhood.” Then I see his lovely bride, and she smiles and gives me a hug and says to her friend “This is Eric’s very first girlfriend from back in the day. She’s always been a sweet and lovely girl.” We run into each other off and on while out and about, and they always make time for conversation with me. They were always so kind back in high school, and 40 something years later, and they still are so kind to me. That is why they are 2 of my favorite people. So, I would say it was a fairly good week.

What happened to Trudy Appleby? Missing from Moline, IL since August 21st 1996

3 weeks from today will mark 21 years since Trudy Appleby disappeared. Trudy lived down the street from my house, and she spent a lot of time here with us. The day I met her, she was jumping in my yard. We had recently moved into this neighborhood. I opened the door, and she said “My name’s Trudy, you got any kids?” The rest was history. August 20th, 1996 was the last time she was at my house, rollerblading out front, eating hot dogs and mac & cheese, talking about school and just hanging out. She said when she left “See you tomorrow!” Well, tomorrow arrived and we did not see her again. She disappeared the morning of August 21st, 1996, last seen leaving her driveway in a grey or silver car driven by a young man described as a young white male in his 20’s, with dark curly hair, wearing a ball cap. The car would have exited the neighborhood at 41st St and 21st Ave. She has never been seen or heard from since.  She was 11 years old at that time. We hung hundreds of posters, the news was here, the police were all around. People searched, but nothing. We found no trace of her.

What happened to Trudy? I wish I knew. In almost 21 years, nobody has come forward with the answer to that question. Last year the police announced that they believe they may know who was responsible for Trudy’s disappearance, and that they just needed someone to come forward. Now, I have been saying this for 21 years…somewhere, someone knows exactly what happened to her. Little girls do not just go *poof* into thin air.

For crying out loud…her mother went to her grave not knowing what happened to her only child. Her grandma died not knowing what happened to her granddaughter. To whomever knows what happened (And mark my words, someone knows to this day): How would you feel if this was your child? I’m sure you have your own children by now, or perhaps even grandchildren. Imagine looking for your lost child, sibling, cousin, friend, grandchild, for almost 21 years, never knowing if he or she were safe or not, alive or not. Imagine not being able to hug someone, not being able to talk to someone….Imagine the only thing you have to remember that missing person by is a bench with his/her name on it. That is all we have of Trudy…a bench with her name on it. Do the right thing….end the nightmare. Call the authorities….Tell the truth….that is all we want. We need to bring Trudy home. What happened to Trudy Appleby?

Mother’s Day 2017

My mom. I miss her. She was many things: Irish mother of the year, beautician, wife, nana, den mother, girl scout leader, a nurse in the army, and the list goes on and on. But, above all that, she was my mother.

We didn’t always see eye to eye, and there were times when I did not always agree with her. However, she was my mother, and she raised us all as best she could. She worked hard raising 8 children in that house with only 4 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. (Looking back, that house seemed so huge when we were little.)

She worked hard at home, and when needed, she worked hard outside of the home. We didn’t always have what we wanted, but we always had what we needed. Did I agree with every decision she ever made, or every punishment she put forward? No. Did I agree with every “harsh” word when she would tell us like it is? No. Did I dare question any of it? No. Did I disrespect her in any way? No. Did I try to “punish” her just for revenge, or make her feel guilty for anything? No. Why? Because she was my mother…..not my buddy, not my pal. And everything she did, everything she fought for, was for the good of us kids. She wanted us to be the best adults we knew how to be. Being a mother does not come with an instruction manual. The last thing my mother and I did together was plan the Roland family reunion in 2001. A few weeks later, she was dead. Love your mother and respect her…..because some day, you may not have her around.

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Conversation at the Opthalmologist

Conversation at the eye doctors with 2 random strangers (older women sitting across from me) went something like this: 1st older woman yawns while having a conversation with her friend. I then yawn. 1st older woman says “It’s catching….sorry I should not have yawned.” I said “Yes, it’s contagious, but I’m getting older, so I yawn a lot more now.” 2nd older woman says “Oh, you have a long way til you are old.” I say “Well, in my head, I’m still 30, but my body is starting to tell me otherwise.” 2nd older woman says “Oh, 30….that was 60 years ago for me.” Well, I wasn’t sure I heard her right….because that would make this woman 90 years old. She certainly did not look 90, and even though she used a walker, she was gettin’ around pretty darned good. So, I flat out responded, sounding rather shocked, “60 years ago? No way! No way!” 1st older woman giggled and said “Yes way…she’s 90.” I replied “You’re pulling my leg.” 2nd older woman said “No, I’m 90.” I just plain said “Well, you look great! And honestly, I would have guessed you at 75.” Needless to say, she was thrilled, and proceeded to talk to me about how she stays so young. She worked til she was 80, and she works out with her theraband exercise bands every day doing bicep curls, etc. She hates sitting around…We agreed that it’s best to move around, and that being bored is just not tolerated. Gosh, she was great. I told her…”I hope I live to be 90.” I love conversations like that with random strangers, because suddenly, they aren’t strangers anymore.