Police said they’re even closer to solving the August 1996 abduction of an 11-year-old Illinois girl who was last seen with a man in a car parked outside her father’s home.
Inside Edition reports that the Moline Police Department have been using a series of billboards and Facebook posts to taunt the suspect or suspects into coming forward.
“You can call it what it is—I’m trolling them,” Moline Police Department Detective Michael Griffin said. “I’m trying to be very pointed about it. This is the homicide of an 11-year-old girl…and the concealment of her body. I’m talking to these people in ways they will understand.”
Griffin is referring to Trudy Appleby, an 11-year-old girl who was last spotted in the front seat of a silver or gray four-door sedan parked in front of her father’s Moline home. Before that, witnesses claimed they saw her on Campbell’s Island with a man William Edward Smith.
Police said Appleby was with a family friend the night before her disappearance. The girl’s father came home from work to discover Appleby wasn’t there. He called the family friend’s home and learned she wasn’t there either.
Smith was deemed a suspect the girl’s disappearance and never cooperated with investigators before his death in 2014, according to Inside Edition.
Despite this, police believe more people were involved in Appleby’s abduction and presumed death—and they’re using a unique tactic to get them to come forward.
With the case going cold, local police are using social media in a unique way to obtain new information. Except, in this case, authorities are using the outlet to shame the people who held their silence for more than 20 years.
“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,” one post says. “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.”
While Appleby’s family and friends encouraged by police’s new tactics, they still fear her and her case will soon be forgotten. Inside Edition noted that Appleby’s mother fervently publicized her daughter’s story until her death to a drunk driver in 2014.
“This book is Trudy,” Father Dennis Appleby told the Quad City Times in August 2016 while holding a book full of newspaper articles about his missing daughter.
“How can I hug this? Just give us Trudy back so we can lay her to rest…I want this to end.”
To the people who committed the violent acts against Trudy and to those who continue to harbor their secrets:As you…
[Featured image: Trudy Appleby/National Center for Missing and Exploited Children]