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!
I am Supergirl, sitting at home, minding my own business, getting ready for a family gathering, when suddenly, a group of hideous looking evildoers busts through the door of my family home. They say they are going to take over the world, but first, they have to take over Superman. And, they have brought kryptonite to assist them in their evil plan. They know he’s going to show up, and will take him down when he gets there.
Little do they know that kryptonite has very little effect on me. However, if Superman does show up, the effects could be devastating! So, I use my telepathic powers to alert Clark Kent to not come to the house for the get together. Even though they have no idea that Clark and Superman are one in the same, we are certain that they will find out once Clark is exposed to the kryptonite.
The only other family member who could possibly help us is our cousin Dennis. Dennis is a tall, lanky fellow with bleach blonde hair and is kind of the odd one out when it comes to super powers. While he can fly, and change clothes in a phone booth quickly, he is not known for his great physical strength. He is, however, really really good at telling really really bad jokes, and kryptonite has no effect on him whatsoever. Also, he’s got this power to stare you down like nobody’s business.
Dennis slips out of the house to the phone booth outside, and comes back in. He takes his stance, hands on hips, and stares down the evildoers. There is practically fire coming out of his eyes, and they feel the burn. Then, he proceeds to tell his bad jokes….a string of one liners that would have been triple x’d out on America’s Got Talent.
They beg him to stop, and eventually can’t take it anymore, and they give up. Bad Joke Superman saved the world.
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