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!
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?
Very soon will be the 19 year anniversary of the disappearance of Trudy Appleby. Trudy was my neighbor girl. She disappeared on the morning of August 21st, 1996, last seen in a grey/silver car resembling a Chevy Celebrity. The driver was a young white male in his 20’s with long brown curly hair, wearing a ball cap. The area was near 41st St and 21st Ave Moline, IL. It will be 19 years with no answers, no idea of what happened to her.
We all know little girls just do not disappear “poof” off the face of the earth. She went somewhere with somebody. She was 11 years old at the time of her disappearance, and she would be 30 years old today.
This girl was filled with so much spunk, and so much love for others. The first time I met her, she was outside playing in my yard. She asked me “Do you have any kids?” and the rest is history. She became fast friends with my oldest daughter, my youngest daughter adored her, and she and my son got on like a brother and sister, constantly teasing each other. I don’t remember what day I met her, but I remember what day she disappeared. Every day for years, I have watched down the road hoping to see her walking to my house again. My oldest would go sit by her mailbox waiting to see if she showed up at home. If I saw Trudy today I’d give her a big old hug and not want to let go.
Somewhere out there, somebody knows or remembers exactly what happened to our girl Trudy. I don’t know how that someone sleeps at night, and part of me hopes that someone doesn’t. That someone really should find it in their hearts to come forward. After all, 19 years of not knowing what happened to a loved one is just incomprehensible.
I have written a letter to the editor pretty much each year for 19 years trying to keep her memory fresh in people’s minds. Let’s not make it 20 years. If you know something, please alert the authorities. It’s really time to bring our Trudy home
To whomever knows what happened to my neighbor girl 18 years ago. I used to think they’d find her next week, then next month, then next year. Then I thought, hopefully, she’d show when she turned 18. Now, 18 years after she disappeared, still waiting.
On the morning of August 21st, 1996 an 11 year old girl named Trudy Appleby disappeared from a neighborhood in Moline, Illinois. She was last seen leaving her driveway/alley in a grey car resembling a Chevy Celebrity with a young man seemingly in his 20’s with curly brown hair. That would have been near 21st Ave and 41st Street in Moline. She has not been found, seen or heard from since. Surely, someone who knew her remembers something she may have said about making plans to go somewhere, or someone knows the person she went with. So, dig back into your memory banks people…..because the answer is out there. Could be something you heard, something you remember, something you thought you saw…..no matter how trivial it may seem, it may be the answer. If someone knows something, please contact the authorities. It’s been 18 years…it’s time for closure…it’s time to bring Trudy home.
Don’t think it can’t happen in your neighborhood, because it happened in mine. Never stop looking, never stop listening…remember the missing.
Another year has come and gone, the search appears to be over, the news coverage is over. Will another year go by without another mention of a missing girl named Trudy Appleby? Please remember her every day, not just once a year in August. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of her.
Thoughts go back to a day when a little spitfire of a girl appeared in our yard. What day it was exactly, I do not recall. Her name…Trudy. She lived down the street and wanted to know if any kids lived in our house. (Not shy, that one.) It did not take long for young Trudy to become a regular at our place, and it was not uncommon to look out the front door on any given day to see her skipping down the road to visit. She became very fast friends with my oldest daughter, and she was very good with my youngest daughter (who by the way adored Trudy). Trudy absolutely loved little ones. Trudy and my son on the other hand….they bickered almost like they were actual siblings, constantly teasing…. perhaps because they were so close in age. A more spunky little girl there could not be….full of life, sharp as a tack, full of love, and always and forever seeing the good in people. She wore a yin yang necklace all the time because she would say for all the bad in the world, there is more good. A special little girl, that one. Then, one day, as suddenly as she appeared, she disappeared. August 21, 1996 was the exact day I do recall and this left such a feeling I cannot describe. The entire neighborhood (who grew to absolutely adore this little girl) watched and waited…for something, anything. We looked out the doors, hoping to see “our girl” (as she is known to some of us) skipping down the road to visit. We looked everywhere we went, hoping to catch a glimpse of her, but that never happened. A big empty hole was left in our hearts, our neighborhood, our lives. Now, 16 years later, we are watching and waiting still, and thoughts go back to a day when a little spitfire of a girl appeared in our yard and such a feeling I cannot describe.
Remember the missing.
Trudy Appleby disappeared August 21,1996 from the Quad Cities area in IL.