Updated: Sep 15, 2022
From January 10, 1994 to September 6, 2022 the disappearance of Steven Asplund has been a mystery, not knowing what happened to him or where he was. The news that came directly from the Moline Police Department out of Rock Island County, Illinois this week was bittersweet for all of us that have wanted answers for Steven and his family. While his last moments in detail may never be unknown, the Moline PD's press release best defines what it known. His remains have been located and confirmed, his family now has more answers and can lay him to rest properly. We pray that his loved ones have some form of peace now after all of these years not knowing. Our greatest thanks to the Moline PD and assisting agencies in all the years of hard work and persistence.
Rest in peace Steve.
*Press Release by the Moline PD*
Original Report Date: 01/09/1994
September 12, 2022
BODY OF MISSING PERSON STEVEN ASPLUND HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED
The Moline Police Department Criminal Investigation Division has identified human remains in St. Louis County, Missouri as that of Steven H. Asplund of Moline. Asplund was reported missing in 1994. No foul play is suspected and no charges are being sought in this case. This concludes the missing person investigation of Mr. Asplund.
On January 10th, 1994 Steven Asplund was reported missing to the Moline Police Department by his fiancée Judy. Asplund had lived in a residence in the 1500 block 28th Avenue and were renovating it, while engaged to be married later in the year. On Sunday evening, January 9th, 1994, Asplund went to a friend’s residence in the 500 block 20th Avenue to borrow a caulking gun. After hanging out for a while, Asplund left in his black Ford Mustang and was never seen again. Asplund was last seen wearing a tshirt, Chicago Bears jacket, gray sweatpants and white tennis shoes.
A few days after his disappearance, Asplund’s car was found at Leach Park in Bettendorf. Items of evidence recovered from the car were analyzed in 1994 through fingerprints examination. As scientific technology expanded over the years, the evidence was examined again in 2014 by DNA. All evidence was found to all belong to Asplund or his fiancée.
Only one tip from 1994 was able to be furthered regarding an individual possibly seen with Asplund at a tavern on 7th Street, Moline. That male was identified in 2014 and after an extensive investigation it was determined he had never met Asplund, never drank with him and the lead was found to be not credible.
The case went cold again, with no tips or information coming in on the case for years.
In November 2021, Moline Police Department Detective Mike Griffin researched the National Missing and Unidentified System (NAMUS) database for recovered/unidentified remains along the Mississippi River from Moline to Memphis, Tennessee. Working backwards from Tennessee and within a timeframe of 1994-1996 he located a recovered male/white body in St. Louis County, Missouri from March 1994.
The body in St. Louis County was found on March 21st, 1994 by barge dock workers at the beginning of their shift. The body was in a debris field next to a barge in the docking area. Attempts by the St. Louis County authorities to identify the body in 1994 were not successful and fingerprints were not obtained at the time due to degradation of the body. The body had grey sweatpants and white shoes. The entry in NAMUS had a discrepancy on the teeth that initially misled investigators.
In 2022, Det. Griffin enlisted the help of Dr. Lindsay Trammell, a Forensic Anthropologist with the St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s office The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health. The investigative team compared the Moline missing person case to the St. Louis County unidentified person case, trying to ensure their NAMUS entry was correct. After exhausting all efforts, the team determined they had to exhume the body for further examination. The team added Forensic Scientist Aaron Small with Illinois State Police Forensic Services Laboratory in Springfield to conduct DNA analysis and comparison.
On June 8th, the unidentified remains were exhumed in St. Louis and a bone sample was obtained from the remains. The bone sample along with familial DNA samples from Asplund’s family were submitted to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab and processed by forensic scientist Aaron Small.
On September 6th, after completion of processing by ISP, it was determined the unidentified remains located in St. Louis County on March 21st, 1994 were that of Steven Asplund, missing from Moline on January 9th, 1994.
The remains are currently buried in Friedens Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri. The Moline Police Department is working with the family to make arrangement on a decision for a final resting place for Mr. Asplund.
From all of us at the Moline Police Department we wish to extend our deepest condolences to the Asplund family as they work through the emotions of the death of Mr. Asplund again after 28 years. Every day is difficult for the family of a missing person. Even with this news many years later, the grief is still painful. Please respect the privacy of the Asplund family while they process the grief and closure of this case. They did not want to appear in person today, but have provided a family statement.
Although this is a sad day, I am very proud of the work of the Moline Police Department and the tireless pursuit of truth for families seeking answers about loved ones. I would like to commend Moline Police Department Detective Mike Griffin who is extremely passionate about policing, investigations and serving the community. Over the years you have heard his name before solving extremely difficult and sometimes cases that have spanned decades.
This isn’t his first success story and it won’t be his last. His dedication, passion and expertise is extraordinary. He spent countless hours examining water routes, unidentified bodies, case files and reports in this case. He did not give up, even when the initial review appeared this body wasn’t Mr. Asplund. He works hard for the community he serves and we are lucky to have him on our team.
The Moline Police Department was assisted in this investigation by Dr. Lindsay Trammell from St Louis County Medical Examiner’s Officer; Forensic Scientist Aaron Small from Illinois State Police Forensic Services Laboratory in Springfield and Amy Jenkinson Regional Program Specialist for National Missing and Unidentified Persons System - NamUs . We are grateful for the resources and expertise dedicated by these agencies and the personal commitment from each team member for their pursuit of answers in this case. Without experts in the scientific community this closure would not have been possible.
While this concludes the investigation into the disappearance of Steven Asplund, the work of the Moline Police Department continues in serving the community. We still search for answers in cases such as Trudy Appleby who went missing in 1996; Jerry Wolking who went missing in 1990; Baby September an infanticide from 1993; Corey Harrell Jr. who was murdered in 2018.
The Moline Police Department will continue to investigate these cases regardless of time passing. We hope with continued public cooperation, advancements in scientific technology, and passionate police officers, one day we will have answers for these cases as well.
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