Moline Police and FBI Have New Leads on Trudy Appleby Case

Jan 8, 2019

More than 20 years after her disappearance, the FBI has new leads in the Trudy Appleby case. In 1996, the 11-year-old Moline girl was last seen in a car with an unidentified man. Witnesses said they believed the man to be William Smith, who is now dead.

Moline Detective Michael Griffin says when the case started witnesses said Smith had access to a boat.

"We had located the location of the boat within the last couple of years. And then we were formulating a plan of processing it, how we're going to garner evidence, [and] the steps we're going to take to do that. As you can imagine it takes time to do our research and to work towards taking possession of a boat to process it on a 22-year-old case."

The boat has been moved to the FBI crime lab in Springfield for examination. 

"I hope to find a link to Trudy. The boat is made up of a material that is such that would allow for DNA evidence to still be within the boat 22 years later. So, obviously, I hope to find evidence that continues to move this case forward."

Griffin says the Moline Police Department will continue to interview people about the case and keep working to solve it for Appleby and her family. He is not sure how long the forensic testing will take.