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Former Idaho governor candidate charged with murder in Colorado cold case

Pankey, Steven Dana_mug
Ada County Sheriff's Office
Steven Dana Pankey
Jonelle Matthews was 12 when she disappeared in 1984.
Greeley Police Department
Jonelle Matthews was 12 when she disappeared in 1984.

GREELY, Colo. (KIFI/KIDK) - Former Idaho gubernatorial candidate Steve Pankey was arrested and charged in the 1984 cold case of a 12-year-old Colorado girl.

Jonelle Matthews went missing from her Greeley home on Friday, Dec. 20, 1984 after returning from a choir concert. Law enforcement had not arrested someone in connection with the case, until Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Jonelle Matthews was 12 when she disappeared in 1984.

According to a Greeley Police press conference on Tuesday, Pankey was arrested by Meridian Police in his Idaho home and booked into the Ada County Jail.

Pankey was not seriously looked into as a suspect until 2018. Pankey ran as a Constitution Party candidate for governor in 2014 and as a Republican in the 2018 primary. In 2019, he contacted the Idaho Statesman to tell his side of the story, fearing a possible arrest.

Last week, he told the Times-News in Twin Falls, Idaho, that he was being framed in the case.

Pankey lived in Greeley at the time Matthews went missing and attended the same church as her family. Authorities found Matthew's remains in rural Weld County in 2019, according to the Greeley Tribune.

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Emma Iannacone

Emma is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.

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