Boat seized gives police continued hope in Appleby disappearance

MOLINE, Ill (KWQC) -- The search for Trudy Appleby takes a turn. Moline police announcing a new development leaves them hopeful the case will eventually be solved. The department has seized a boat wanted in the search.

(Moline Police)

“Yes, someone's doing something and that's really important,” said Dennis Harker, Director of Quad Cities Missing Persons Network.

Every lead and every new break in the disappearance of Trudy Appleby is a positive for Dennis Harker.

“It's encouraging that the police are still working on this case and they are still investigating every lead, even as old as it is, over 20 years old,” said Harker.

Harker who's the Director of the Quad Cities Missing Person’s Network has been following Appleby’s case closely. He says he was happy to hear the latest new break in police seizing a boat in connection to Appleby’s disappearance.

“I’ve had had hope on this case since I got it. I’m an optimist person by nature,” said Detective Michael Griffin of the Moline Police Department.

Detective Michael Griffin says this latest break is decades in the making. A witness told police about the boat back in 1996, after Trudy was reported missing as well.

“Once we started pouring back into it a few years ago, we were able to track down that boat,” said Detective Griffin. “On December 19th, we were able to seize that boat,”

Police say the boat was found in Iowa outside of the Quad Cities. It is currently being examined at the FBI Crime Lab in Springfield, Illinois. Due to the investigation they are not able to release a photo or a description. The current owners of the boat have no connection to the case. The department’s main focus now is finding DNA evidence inside the boat.

“Because of the makeup of the boat, it is reasonable to believe that if there is any biological evidence from Trudy in 1996 that it could still be on there to this date,” said Detective Griffin. “Even though, it's been over 22 years,”

Although it still remains unknown what happened to 11-year-old Appleby in 1996. Police say they won't give up.

“The fact that we continue to get tips virtually every day about Trudy Appleby shows that people still care and shows that this case is still solvable,” said Detective Griffin. “We are going to continue to work towards a resolution,”

Police say they don't know where the investigation will go from here. It will all depend on what they find on the boat, but they will continue to interview people regarding what they have seen or heard.

No one has seen Appleby since August of 1996. Since that time there have been several developments, but no solid break.