Renewed Hope For Family, Friends of Missing Persons - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Renewed Hope For Family, Friends of Missing Persons

Updated: May 7, 2013 11:50 PM CDT

Relatives are calling it a miracle: Three women, kidnapped more than a decade ago and held in a Cleveland home, are reunited with their families. 


This story out of Cleveland is giving new hope to the families of missing persons across the country.


It could also mean new faith for the friends and families of those people who went missing from right here in the QCA.


And, there are more of them than many of us may think.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children database, there are at least four open cases of people who went missing from our area.


One disappearance in Whiteside County dates back to 1969.

There is also the high profile case of Trudy Appleby. She went missing from Moline in 1996.


Her case in particular is in the forefront of many local residents' minds now.

The news of what happened in Cleveland has lead to an outpouring of thoughts and prayers on Facebook.

Some are from perfect strangers, who have been following Trudy Appleby's story from the start. Others are from her childhood friends and neighbors.


All of them are wishing for a break like the one in Cleveland to happen in Trudy's case.

"I mean it's happened before, with the lady in Florida that they found that was missing for like 18 years," said Amber Dunlap, of Davenport. "I was just happy for their families, their loved ones."


Trudy Appleby was Amber Dunlap's best childhood friend. She was her first friend when her family moved into the Appleby's Moline neighborhood.

"My mom actually found her playing in our backyard and said 'Who are you?' and she said, 'I'm Trudy. Do you have any kids?'" Dunlap recalled.

She says they were inseparable from that time on - Until Appleby's disappearance on August 21st, 1996.


Appleby was last seen leaving her driveway in the back seat of a silver or gray car with an unknown white male behind the wheel.

Nearly 17 years later, that missing person's case is still open:

"I believe there's more than one person out there that knows exactly what happened to her," Dunlap said, "And every day I wonder how they sleep."

"You know, what if that was their child, their daughter, their granddaughter?" she added.

Although Dunlap says she no longer holds out hope that they'll find her friend alive, the case in Cleveland has renewed her hope that some day she'll have some answers.

"Some day they'll come out. They'll have to. Somebody will just be so ate up that they're not going to have a choice but to come forward," she said.

It's hope she knows is shared by every loved one of every missing person out there.

And it's shared by this community.

With every yearly vigil - and every fresh lead - there is a reminder of Trudy Appleby. She may be missing, but she is certainly not forgotten.

"If you know something, then come forward," Dunlap said.


It is a plea for answers in a case that that's never far from Amber Dunlap's mind.  

Any one with any information about a missing persons case - Trudy Appleby's or anyone else's - is urged to call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, your local police or sheriff's department, or the FBI.

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