20 years after girl's disappearance, police believe they know who is responsible
MOLINE, Illinois (WQAD) — Prior to a vigil for the 20th anniversary of the disappearance of Trudy Appleby, Detective Michael Griffin of the Moline Police Department, asked if he could reveal information that hadn't yet been released to the public.
"It's a new strategy, it's something we've talked about in depth here prior to saying what we said yesterday," said Detective Griffin, referring to the department's statement at the vigil.
The department announced that they believe they know who is responsible for taking Trudy, and that that person is dead.
"We believe that after 20 years, it's time to put this information forward. We're hoping that it prompts someone to give us information to come to us and finally tell us," said Detective Griffin.
Griffin said police want the family of the man they believe took Trudy, to come forward and finally answer the questions the Appleby family has lived with for so long.
"We want the family members of the gentleman responsible for this. We believe they were there that day. We believe they know what transpired that day. We believe they know what happened to her and that information would be beneficial to the case and give the Appleby family the closure they deserve," said Detective Griffin.
A name for the person police believe took Trudy is not being released because no charges have been filed.
Photos from the case:
"We want to know what they did with Trudy. Where is she at? That's what we want to know," said Detective Griffin.
When asked if anyone who came forward with the information would face charges, Detective Griffin said that would be up to the Rock Island County State's Attorney's Office.
"If they came forward, and they wanted immunity that would be a decision made at [the Rock Island County State's Attorney] level, but I would foresee that we could make that agreement," said Detective Griffin, adding that the family of the suspect has the opportunity to give closure to the Appleby's and themselves.
"They've been living with this for 20 years. They've been harboring these thoughts and feelings and secrets for 20 years. It's weighing on them as well," Detective Griffin reiterated.
He said the case has taken on a different perspective, a different angle since the primary suspect's death.
"Now, we're going from a criminal case to, let's solve this for [the family of Trudy Appleby]," said Detective Griffin.
Trudy Appleby was last seen leaving her father's neighborhood in Moline, Illinois. She was in a grey car. According to Detective Griffin, the driver of that grey car was not the primary suspect; the driver is believed to still be alive.