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

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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