Pankey was arrested in October 2020 in Idaho. According to the Weld County District Attorney’s Office, Pankey kidnapped Matthews from her home in December 1984, then shot and killed her.
Greeley Police said Matthews' disappearance "haunted" the city for over 30 years. Detectives reopened the case in 2015 and began investigating again.
On July 23, 2019, a crew working on excavating a pipeline in rural Weld County discovered apparent human remains. Weld County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived at the scene and "determined the remains were human."
According to Greeley Police, evidence at the scene and the Weld County Coroner’s Office examination led to the remains being positively identified as belonging to Matthews.
Greeley Police said Pankey became a person of interest early on in the investigation. Then, as detectives gathered more evidence, he was named a suspect.
According to KMGH-TV, Pankey went to trial in 2021, but the jury reportedly could not reach a consensus on the charges. He was found guilty during that trial of false reporting.
Pankey ran for governor of Idaho in 2018, where he campaigned to "support President Trump’s Nationalist Policies" and to "Drain the Swamp in 2018 and beyond." He reportedly studied criminal justice in college and also ran for lieutenant governor.