Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Moline applies new pressure in Appleby disappearance

Moline applies new pressure in Appleby disappearance

  • Updated
  • 0

The Moline Police Department is continuing its campaign to find Trudy Appleby.

No one has seen Appleby since Aug. 21, 1996. She was 11 when she disappeared.

The department recently put a post on its Facebook page for people responsible for her disappearance.

"For the last 8014 days you have been lucky, but you will need to continue to be lucky everyday for the rest of your lives," the post states. "We only need to be lucky one day, is today that day?

"We are coming for you and the truth shall be brought to light," the post finishes.

This post is the latest of recent steps the Moline police have made as the continue to make a break in the case.

On July 24, Moline officers, with help from the QC Missing Persons Network, passed out fliers about Appleby on Campbell’s Island.

Investigators have also had billboards erected, urging people to provide information about the case.

“You know something, it’s time to say something,” the billboards read. They include a photo of Appleby.

The signs have been placed at 19th Street and 5th Avenue, East Moline, and at Illinois 5 near Barstow Road.

In August 2017, police identified William “Ed” Smith as a “person of interest” in the case. He, investigators think, may have been the last person seen with Appleby.

A witness told authorities about seeing Smith on the day of the disappearance, according to police. He was in a vehicle near his Campbell's Island residence and there was a younger female sitting in the passenger seat.

The witness thought this girl was Trudy Appleby, police said. The witness knew her, and the vehicle passed within a couple of feet of the witness.

It was the last time Trudy Appleby was seen, police said.

Another witness reported seeing the girl earlier on Aug. 21, 1996, near her home, police have said. Appleby was getting into the passenger side of an older model, gray-colored vehicle. The witness did not know the driver.

The vehicle in the incident near Appleby's house was similar to the one in which the other witness said Smith and Appleby were together, police said.

At the time of Appleby's disappearance, Smith had access to a vehicle similar to the one thought related to Appleby 's disappearance, according to police. Investigators think the vehicle may have been scrapped shortly after Appleby went missing.

Smith frequented the river around Blackbird Island and Dynamite Island off the northern end of Campbell's Island, police said. It is an area that can only be reached by boat.

Smith never said anything to police that indicated knowledge of Appleby’s disappearance and died Dec. 23, 2014.

In October 2017, authorities excavated the site of an old home on Campbell’s Island after receiving a tip. The now-empty lot did not yield any definitive signs of Appleby.

The home that stood there was that of a man who was interviewed in relation to the Appleby case.

Moline police confirmed in 2002 that they interviewed the man about Appleby's disappearance.

Dennis Appleby said at the time of Trudy's disappearance that his daughter was good friends with the man's daughter and visited that family often before her disappearance.

Anyone with information that could help with the Appleby case is asked to contact the Moline police at 309-524-2140 or Crime Stoppers of the Quad-Cities at 309-762-9500.

Crime Stoppers also accepts tips through its website,, and via the free mobile app “P3 Tips.”


Get local news delivered to your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News