Trudy Appleby went missing August 21st 1996 from her neighborhood in Moline, IL. She was 11 years old. She was seen by a neighbor leaving her driveway in a grey boxy-type car driven by a young man with dark wavy hair wearing a ball cap. She was never seen or heard from again. Trudy was my neighbor. All she took with her was a swimming suit and a towel.
Flash forward 23 years…..23 long years. We still don’t know where she is…although, there is a fairly good idea about what may have taken place. Sadly, we have had to come to terms with the distinct possibility that she met with an awful fate that day.
In 2012, a dig was done in Colona, IL near the river. Nothing pertinent was found.
In 2017, a witness came forward stating that she had been seen in the car of a now deceased individual by the name of William “Ed” Smith in a similar car. They were on Campbell’s Island in East Moline, just feet away from that witness. That was the last time she was seen. Then in October 2017, a dig was done on an empty lot, and still, nothing definitive was found.
It is believed that Trudy left her home with a member if William “Ed” Smith’s family on the pretense of going swimming. It is also believed that she met with a terrible fate that day, and was buried somewhere, and that someone still knows what happened and what was done with her. Someone is keeping a horrible secret….for 23 years.
Most recently, a boat was seized by the local authorities. It is believed to be the boat that transported Trudy on the proposed “swimming” outing. It is being tested for dna.
This last 23 years has been a horrible nightmare…..Trudy’s mother died in 2014 never knowing what happened to her only child. Her grandmother died shortly after. Her grandmother kept a scrapbook full of articles covering Trudy’s disappearance. That was all she had to hold on to. Her family continues the search for the truth, as do her friends…even after 23 years. Why? Because she was a bright, beautiful, witty, loving, trusting child. Trudy Appleby…more than just a name or a statistic….a real human being who no longer has a voice. Someone took her voice from her, as well as her future. So, now her family and friends are the voice for Trudy. We all want whomever knows to come forward and tell us where her body is so we can bury her and lay her to rest.
You know something, it’s time to say something. Call the Moline Police Department at 309-524-2140 or Moline Crime Stoppers at 309-762-9500.