Former Idaho Governor Candidate Investigated In Killing 12-Year-Old Girl
68-year-old Steve Pankey is being investigated in the death of 12-year-old Jonelle Matthews, who went missing nearly 35 years ago.
According to an article on KTVB that details the investigation, the young girl went missing after her Christmas choir concert back in 1984. He remains were finally found near an oil and gas well in July.
The suspected murder and disappearance of Jonelle took place in Greenley, Colorado. Pankey, who now lives in Twin Falls lived about two miles from the 12-year-old's home at the time she went missing.
Keep in mind that Steve Pankey has not been charged in this crime, it is simply an investigation at this point and Pankey claims he never met Jonelle or her family. He also says he did not hear about the young girl missing until days after the crime. He has denied any involvement in her disappearance.
As for Pankey's political background, he ran for governor as a Constitution Party candidate in 2014 and as a Republican in the 2018 primary.
The night Jonelle went missing she was dropped off at her home by her friend and her friend's father after her choir concert. When her parents came home an hour later, her shoes were on the floor, the T.V. was on, the front door was open, but their daughter was gone. I can't even imagine the horror those parents must have felt and the pain they have suffered all these years.
As for Steve Pankey, on that same night, he says he and his then-wife tucked their 5-year-old into bed and prepared to leave for a Christmas trip to California the next morning.
Pankey did have several run-ins with the law at that time. He was accused of date rape and acquitted in 1977. He claims the police were out to get him after that and he was charged with 20 misdemeanors over the next several years.
In 1989, Pankey moved to Ketchum and then Shoshone before settling in Twin Falls. He says he hopes the case is solved as he knows the pain of losing his own son to murder back in 2008.