Families of missing persons in the QC speak out on Pitzen hoax

MOLINE, Illinois -- Today, there are more than 30 missing people in the Quad Cities area alone.

Ray Eddleman has spent more than two decades searching for his niece -- Truddy Appleby.

"It's been 22 years for us and the pain is still there just like it was yesterday," Eddleman said.

After a man falsely claimed to be Timmothy Pitzen, Eddleman said he is hurting for the Father, James Pitzen, who thought he had a chance at being reunited with his son.

"I can't imagine getting a phone call saying 'We found your son,' and then another phone call saying, 'It wasn't him'," Eddleman said.

Eddleman said he, too, had moments where his wishful thinking fell flat. He said it came after a false lead led to a massive search near the Rock River in Colona, Illinois.

"That looked like it was going to be something," Eddleman said. "All the man power they had out there... they just thought that it was going to be something. It got us all excited and hoping for nothing."

Dennis Harker also knows what it's like to lose someone close to him. His son, David Harker, went missing more than six years ago.

"It wasn't too long into it that I thought.. we're not going to find him," Dennis Harker said.

Sadly, David was not found alive. That's when  Dennis turned his tragedy into new hope for others -- creating the Quad Cities Missing Persons Network.

"Having had lost family members before," Dennis Harker said. "My first thought we be, 'Could it possibly be?'"

Both families say although the Pitzen's were not reunited,  there is a silver lining.

"Suddenly now this 6 year old who would now be a 14 year old is all over national news," Dennis Harker said. "It’s going to raise awareness that he’s still out there."

"As the years have gone by," Eddleman said. "Every time that Trudy’s name is mentioned, every time that Pitzen’s name is mentioned… it keeps the topic on everybody’s mind. And it’s when that person is forgotten about -- that that’s when they’re going to be lost."

The Quad Cities Missing Persons Network will be holding a Motorcycle Group Ride on May 11th 2019 to raise awareness for the dozens of people still missing in the area.

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