By Jennifer McRae

GREELEY, Colo. (CBS4)– Closing arguments began Tuesday morning in the trial for Steve Pankey, accused of murdering Jonelle Matthews in December 1984. Last week Pankey took the stand in his own defense.

(credit: CBS)

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Pankey has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and murder.

Jonelle Matthews (credit: CBS)

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It was Dec. 20, 1984 when 12-year-old Jonelle Matthews sang in a concert and was dropped at home by a friend and the friend’s father. She was last seen at 8 p.m., entering the ranch-style home where she lived with her father, Jim; mother, Gloria; and sister. But when her father returned from her sister’s basketball game an hour later, Jonelle was gone.

(credit: CBS)

Jonelle was considered missing until workers digging a pipeline in July 2019 discovered human remains matching her dental records in a rural area southeast of Greeley, a city about 50 miles north of Denver. Police then labeled her death a homicide. An autopsy report suggests she died of a gunshot wound to the head.

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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.

Jennifer McRae