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!