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Police: Boat believed to be part of Trudy Appleby disappearance searched by FBI

MOLINE, Illinois -- A boat that police said they believe may have been involved in the disappearance of Trudy Appleby is being investigated by the FBI.

The boat was seized on Wednesday, December 19, according to a statement from Moline Police Detective Michael Griffin.

Detective Griffin says the boat had changed hands over the years, but it was seized from a family who lives two hours from the Quad Cities. Griffin says when that family learned the connection the boat could have with the Trudy Appleby case, they were in shock.

He said the boat "which may have been used to transport Trudy Appleby," was taken to the FBI Crime Lab in Springfield, where it was being examined by the FBI Evidence Response Team.

Appleby was 11 years old when she disappeared from her home in 1996.  Investigators ramped up their search for answers in the summer of 2018 when they posted two billboards in East Moline seeking information.

Police previously named William Edward Smith as a person of interest.  Smith is now deceased.

The investigation is ongoing.   Anyone with information is asked to call the Moline Police Department at 309-524-2140 or Crime Stoppers of the Quad Cities at 309-762-9500.

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