Police say there's a break in the case of a Quad City man reported missing 20 years ago, calling it the most promising lead in 2 decades.
Steve Asplund, 32, of Moline disappeared without a trace on January 9, 1994. Friends and family marked the anniversary with new hope, after detectives announced they have identified "persons of interest" in the mystery.
"We're gaining speed here and we believe after 20 years something could break in this case shortly," said Moline spokesperson Scott Williams.
"We actually feel confident we can go forward and hopefully present something to the States Attorneys Office," he told WQAD-TV.
Williams says a recent review of old tips has garnered new information, specifically, about an old sketch of a man potentially seen with Asplund by a witness who came forward after his disappearance. Police say they have now identified the man, who was described back then as a man with a beard, an "HR" tattoo on the back of his left hand, and wearing a Green Bay Packers jacket.
Police are not identifying him. They also say the investigation has expanded to include the Henry County Sheriffs Department and Illinois State Police, and issued a warning to those who may have information after all these years.
"We believe more than one person was involved in Steve's disappearance. We have narrowed our scope to several individuals of interest. Now is the time for those individuals to step forward and make themselves known to police. Now is the time to call and try and get the best outcome for them," he said.
Word of a potential break in the case was welcome news for friends and family members of Asplund, who worked as a local tool and die maker.
"It would be nice to find out that Steve has started a new life for himself, but if that's not the case, justice needs to be served," said his brother Mike Asplund. "There's a renewed sense of urgency about it again. I'm hopeful."
Tim Miner was a good friend and co-worker, who last saw Steve the day he disappeared. He had come over to his house to borrow a caulking gun for an ongoing re-modeling project.
"Steve is the person who would give you the shirt off his back, the last dollar, the last nickel in his pocket. I just hope they figure out something and I pray to God it isn't murder," Miner said.
"I miss him. I want more than anything closure for myself, and more for his mother and twin sister and brother. I don't like the pain they have to live with everyday," Miner said.
Anyone with additional information is urged to call the Moline Police Department at 309-524-2147 or Crimestoppers.