Trudy Appleby…missing 22 years.

Another year has come and gone, and yet again, I am writing about Trudy Appleby.

Trudy Appleby was my neighbor girl.  She was bright, energetic, full of love, light, hope and happiness.  She was a regular in our house, and any given day you could find her skipping down the road to come visit.  The last time we saw Trudy was the evening of August 20th, 1996.  As she left, she said she would call my daughter the next morning and would see us all the next day.  That never happened.

Trudy Appleby went missing the morning of August 21st, 1996.  A neighbor saw her leaving the driveway in a grey car being driven by a white male, perhaps in his 20’s, with long, dark, wavy hair and wearing a ball cap.   She never returned home.

Missing flyers were printed and passed out everywhere anyone could think of.  Billboards of her missing flyer were put up along roads and highways.  We hoped she would be found within hours, then the hours turned to days, the days turned to weeks, the weeks turned to months, the months turned to years, and the years turned to decades.  It has been over 2 decades since Trudy disappeared without a trace…not a trace.  We all know little girls don’t go *poof* into thin air.

We are going on 22 years now that Trudy has been missing.  22 years of loved ones not knowing where she is, or who she was with.  22 years of searching for her, hoping she would come home, hoping she was alive and well, but thinking it was/is a good possibility that she may not be alive.  We all simply do not know what happened to her and where she is.  The not knowing…that’s awful.

Last year, the Moline Police Department released a name of a “person of interest” in the case.  It seems a witness finally came forward and stated she was seen later the morning of her disappearance in a car with a William “Ed” Smith in a neighborhood on Campbell’s Island.   Unfortunately, that witness did not have any other information to offer.  It took the witness 21 years to speak up about that.  Why wait so long?

Someone out there knows something.  Maybe more than one person knows.  Whoever was responsible for her disappearance had to have told someone what happened to her, and what was done with her.  Trudy was 11 years old.  She was someone’s daughter, granddaughter, niece, sister, cousin, friend.  She was a bright light in the darkness.  Her innocence was stolen, and our bright light has been snuffed out for the last 22 years.  Someone knows something, and you know who you are.  Yet you choose to harbor this terrible secret…and for what?  Who are you trying to protect?  It’s time to tell what you know…We want to bring our girl home.  Do the right thing for once in your life.  What if this were one of your loved ones?  Don’t think it can’t happen to one of your loved ones…it can.  It happened to one of mine.  It’s time to bring Trudy Appleby home.   Little girls don’t go *poof* into thin air.

National Missing Children’s Day and Trudy Appleby

May 25th was National Missing Children’s Day.  Trudy Appleby was an 11 year old girl that disappeared August 21st, 1996 from her home in Moline, Illinois.  She was last seen leaving her driveway that morning in a grey/silver older model car with an unknown male.  Her home was near 41st St and 21st Ave in Moline.  She has never been seen or heard from since.  Each year, a vigil is held at her family’s church in hopes of keeping her story out there, so that someone will come forward.

Last year, a witness came forward and placed Trudy with William “Ed” Smith, who drove a similar vehicle.  They were seen near his residence on Campbell’s Island in East Moline that same morning.  Trudy knew this man and his family, and it is suspected she was planning on going swimming with them that day.  She never returned, and her whereabouts is unknown after the witness saw her in the vehicle.  There are no further reported sightings.  She simply “vanished”.  William “Ed” Smith died on December 23rd, 2014.

It is suspected that Trudy Appleby is no longer alive and did not survive that fateful morning.  It is believed that someone knows exactly where we can find her.

Trudy Appleby was my neighbor girl and very much like one of my own children.

Anyone with any information regarding this case is encouraged to contact their local authorities, or the Moline Police Department in Moline, IL.   Make the call….help us bring Trudy home….so we can lay her to rest. trudy flyertrudy appleby 2