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

 

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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?

Trudy Appleby: Little Girl Gone: 20 years

We are quickly approaching the 20 year anniversary of the disappearance of Trudy Appleby.  Trudy Appleby went missing from her home in Moline, IL on August 21st 1996.  She was last seen that morning leaving her driveway in a grey/silver car.  The driver appeared to be a male, in his 20’s with dark, curly hair and a baseball cap.  This was in the area of 41st St and 21st Ave in Moline, IL.  She has never been seen or heard from since.  Those are the facts in a nutshell.  Now, it’s about to get a bit more personal.

Trudy Appleby is not just a name or a statistic.  Trudy Appleby was a real little girl, who at the time of her disappearance was 11 years old, and just 2 weeks shy of turning 12.

Trudy had a family, and lots of friends.  She was my neighbor, and spent a lot of time at my house.  I first met Trudy sometime after we moved into this neighborhood.  She was outside in my yard one day, and I opened the door and she said “Hi, my name’s Trudy…you got any kids?”.  The rest was history.   She became fast friends with my oldest daughter, and was over to the house quite often.  Trudy was a little spitfire of a girl.  She was outgoing, friendly, loving, and very bright.

I last saw Trudy on August 20th, 1996, when she was over at the house.  It was a usual Trudy visit, complete with rollerblading out front, eating hot dogs, talking about the upcoming school year and vacations.  My daughter walked her home about 8 pm as usual.  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that would be the last time we were to see Trudy Appleby.  But, the next morning, everything changed.

I got a call at work, and life as we knew it in this quiet, safe little neighborhood had changed forever.  We had a missing child.  Trudy was gone.  Hours turned into days, days into weeks, weeks into months, months into years, and years into decades.  We passed out hundreds and hundreds of flyers, we searched everywhere, kept our eyes and ears open, hoping for any bit of news, or a phone call, or to see her skipping down the road.  We watched our children much more closely, afraid to even let them play out in the yard by themselves.

I have played the evening of August 20th, 1996 in my head over and over during the past 20 years, trying to recall anything out of the ordinary.   For instance, was there a strange vehicle in the neighborhood?  Did Trudy say anything about seeing a stranger?  But, there was nothing out of the ordinary about that evening.

What happened to Trudy?  We do not know.  Her family doesn’t know, her friends don’t know, and this neighborhood does not know.  Someone knows, though.  That someone needs to come forward and make that call.  Make an anonymous call if necessary.  Tell the authorities what happened to Trudy Appleby.  20 years of not knowing is awful.  It’s worse than awful.  It’s time to bring Trudy home, don’t you think?

Don’t think it can’t happen to someone you know.  Don’t think it can’t happen in your neighborhood.  It happened in mine. trudy flyer

After 19 years, Trudy Appleby is still missing.

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’strudy appleby really time to bring our Trudy home

Fixing the boo boos

As moms, when our children are little, there was no boo boo we couldn’t fix.  Be it with a kiss, a bandaid, a little washing, an ice cream cone, a quarter, the list goes on and on.  There comes a time in a mom’s life when she realizes “Hey, I cannot fix this kid’s boo boos anymore.”  When she realizes that…well, it’s not an easy moment.  Her child is not a child anymore, but an adult, or very near adulthood.  Some of the boo boos she used to fix were skinned knees, loose teeth, a bump on the ole noggin, a fever, the list goes on and on.  Now, the boo boos are a bit more complex than that, and there is a point in life when she realizes that no matter what she does, the boo boos of her now grown child can be fixed by nobody else but that child.  Her child could be at the point of losing everything.  At that point a decision must be made.  Does she keeping trying to “fix” it, especially if that means the “fixing” may be enabling?  Or does she finally say enough?  Making the decision to say enough is so difficult for a mom.  So very difficult.  Telling her child “I am done….nobody can fix you but you.” is possibly the hardest thing a mom can say.  Sitting and waiting to see if the child decides he/she is worth fixing him or herself is not easy either.   But she does, and hopes for the best and tells herself that sometimes tough love is what is necessary to get her child to see the light, even though it is killing her inside and she cries because she just wants her child to be ok again.  She wants those boo boos fixed.

Trudy’s Mom

Wednesday, they laid someone to rest. Her name is Brenda. I knew her as Brenda, but I also knew her as Trudy’s mom. The rest of the people here know of her as the mother of Trudy Appleby, the Moline girl who went missing 18 years ago. Brenda was a very softspoken, sweet person and Trudy was her only child. She spent the last 18 years of her life looking for her daughter…never knowing where she was, or what happened to her, but never completely giving up the hope that Trudy is out there somewhere still, and that we would one day find her. Brenda met with a tragic fate, and left this Earth very unexpectedly, as she was hit by someone driving under the influence. She passed never knowing the truth about what happened to her daughter, and her family is now dealing with another unexpected, sudden loss. I know, that out there somewhere is someone who knows the truth about what happened to our little Trudy 18 years ago. That someone has chosen not to come forward as of yet, and in turn caused 18 years of the pain of not knowing. Now a mother has passed, never to have found her answer to her question of where her daughter is. What will it take for that someone to come forward? I don’t know how that someone sleeps at night, and quite frankly, now…I hope they don’t.

The birth of Hurricane Emily

It stormed the night of July 16th, 1992. The road on our block flooded….flooded so bad, the neighbors actually called someplace to come blow open the drains. It was during that storm that my youngest decided to make her appearance…and in a hurry! After almost being born on the toilet, a ride on the ambulance with a paramedic that never delivered a baby before, a race to the delivery room (and a lot of hee hee hee hoo-ing), this beautiful 10 lb bundle who was so intent on arriving during the storm, was born at 02:43 am on July 17th, 1992 (a mere 15 minutes after I arrived there). Storm or no storm, she wanted out and NOW! A year later, they named a hurricane after her. Happy Birthday Emily.