GREELEY, Colo. (CBS4) — Thirty-four years after she disappeared, the body of 12-year-old Jonelle Matthews of Greeley was discovered by oil and gas workers in Weld County. The question of how she died was examined in an autopsy, but little new information was contained in a highly-redacted version ordered released by a judge.

Jonelle Matthews (credit: CBS)

CBS4 and the Greeley Tribune had filed requests for copies of the report. Weld County opposed the request, arguing it could compromise their investigation. District Court Judge Shannon Lyons approved a partial release Thursday. She ruled that details that could potentially compromise the ongoing investigation would not be released while the investigation is continuing. The redacted information includes the cause and manner of death.

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The report conducted by Dr. Michael Burson states that Jonelle was found in a clandestine grave on July 23, 2019. The report describes her body as “skeletal remains” and says the bones were mixed with “abundant dirt and debris” when they were delivered to the McKee Medical Center. The skull and mandible were “largely intact” and investigators were able to identify Jonelle by orthodonture and missing teeth consistent with her dental records.

(credit: CBS)

Jonelle disappeared December 20, 1984. She had performed with the Franklin Middle School Choir in Denver that night. After returning home she took a call from her father who arrived later, at about 9:30 p.m. The garage door was reported open, but no one home. The father called police after finding Jonelle’s shoes and  a shawl.

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Police found footprints in the snow indicating someone may have been looking in the windows. No one has been charged or arrested in the case.

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