WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) — Steven Pankey, the man accused of murdering Jonelle Matthews nearly 35 years ago, has been extradited to Colorado for prosecution. Greeley Police say Pankey, 69, killed Matthews in the 1980s and disposed of her body in a remote field.
Her remains were discovered in 2019 by a construction team. The clothes she was last seen wearing were also found at the location.
CBS4’s Dillon Thomas learned Pankey was booked in the Weld County Jail on Wednesday evening, around 6:50 p.m. He was extradited to Colorado after his arrest in Ada County, Idaho.
Matthews disappeared in 1984 after performing in a Christmas choir concert. An autopsy report suggests she died of a gunshot wound to the head.
While investigators haven’t said if Pankey’s DNA was found on Matthews’ remains or clothing, they did say he was linked to the murder through comments he made about the missing girl — that was not known by the public. They also were suspicious about his interest in the case, and his openness to his peers about addressing his connection to the missing girl.
Pankey was not a family friend of the Matthews family. However, he did attend the same church and was part of the same social circles as the family.
CBS4 will continue to follow the investigation and court proceedings.