Two billboards will be placed in East Moline seeking information in the 1996 disappearance of Trudy Appleby.
On Tuesday, Moline police, in cooperation with Crime Stoppers of the Quad-Cities and Lamar Advertising, announced billboards will be placed at 19th Street and 5th Avenue and Illinois 5 near Barstow Road.
Trudy Appleby, then 11, went missing from her home in Moline on Aug. 21, 1996. She was never seen again. Over the past 22 years, thousands of tips and interviews have occurred in connection to her disappearance.
On Aug. 21, 2017, Moline police named William Edward Smith, now deceased, as a person of interest.
In a news release Tuesday, Moline police stated they believe one or more people participated in the crime and subsequent cover-up regarding Appleby's disappearance. Police said "relevant and pertinent" information regarding the case continues to come in, but police "are missing the last few pieces of the puzzle."
Moline Police Detective Michael Griffin said the department believes "someone with the last bit of information will drive past the billboards, come forward and complete this puzzle."
"There are several people with critical information regarding Trudy Appleby, but they continue to hide behind a shroud of secrecy," said Griffin. "We are asking the public’s assistance in removing their shroud of secrecy (to) bring Trudy home."