DENVER (KIVI) -- A Weld County, Colorado grand jury has indicted a former Idaho gubernatorial candidate on murder and kidnapping charges in connection with the 1984 death and disappearance of 12-year-old Jonelle Matthews in Greeley.
Steven Dana Pankey, 69, has been indicted on counts of first-degree murder after deliberation, felony murder, and second-degree kidnapping with a weapon. He also faces two sentence enhancers for using a weapon in commission of a violent crime if he is convicted, according to court records and the indictment.
Matthews’ remains were discovered at an oil and gas site in Greeley in July 2019. She went missing from her Greeley home on the night of Dec. 20, 1984 after she was dropped off at her home following a choir practice.
Greeley police said last September, after Matthews’ remains were discovered, that Pankey was a person of interest in the case. He ran as a Republican in the 2018 gubernatorial primary in Idaho and as a Constitution Party candidate in 2014.
According to Pankey’s indictment, Pankey allegedly took Matthews from her home on the night of Dec. 20, 1984, sometime between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and shot Matthews in the head sometime during the kidnapping. He lived about 2 miles from Matthews’ home in December 1984.
Court records showed that Pankey was in custody in the Ada County, Idaho Sheriff’s Office on Monday. He is charged in Weld County.