Suspect Named in Trudy Appleby Case

Moline police hoping others with information come forward.

After 21 years, more answers are surfacing in the case of Trudy Appleby.

The 11-year-old girl disappeared near her home in Moline on August 21, 1996. She had asked to go swimming but her father told her no. However, phone records show Trudy likely went anyway, and went to Campbell's Island near her home. 

That's where she was last seen getting into a vehicle described as an "older-model, 4-door, Chevy."

Today, Detective Mike Griffin, who inherited the case a few years ago, says the man driving that Vehicle has been named.

William "Ed" Smith, who died on December 23, 2014, has been named as the suspect last seen with Trudy. 

The named witness, David Whipple, says Smith, his father-in-law drove away with Trudy. 

Smith later returned, but Trudy never came home.

For Trudy's father, Dennis Appleby, he says he's always known who was behind the disappearance of his daughter.

Amber Holderfield says she Trudy was her best friend, and she and her mother, Kelly Carlson, never stopped looking for Trudy, and the answers behind her disappearance.

"We just want to know where her body got put so we can lay that baby girl to rest," said Holderfield. 

Although he says he doesn't know if he will ever have closure, he hopes this bring's some peace to Trudy's mother's side of the family.

Trudy's mother, Brenda Gordon, was killed by a drunk driver in October 2014, Trudy's grandma died shortly after that same year. 

Dennis Appleby says both women never stopped fighting for justice for Trudy. 

"This is all I have now," said Appleby. 

A vigil for Trudy is being planned next week in Silvis. 


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