Colorado police say remains found of girl missing since 1984
GREELEY, Colo. — The remains of a 12-year-old girl who disappeared in 1984 after performing at a Christmas holiday concert have been found by construction workers in Colorado, police said Thursday.
Greeley police Sgt. Joe Tymkowych said the remains were identified as those of Jonelle Matthews, who was last seen being dropped off at her home by a friend and a friend’s father, The Greeley Tribune reported.
No one was ever arrested following her disappearance on Dec. 20, 1984. Jonelle had performed with a middle school honor choir shortly before she disappeared, authorities said.
The Tribune reported Wednesday that workers were constructing a new pipeline in rural Weld County when they discovered bones Tuesday night. Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams said his deputies were treating the recovery of the remains as a homicide investigation.
Tymkowych did not immediately return telephone calls and it was not clear how authorities were able to identify the remains as those of the young girl so quickly.
“We’re still chasing down leads,” Tymkowych told the newspaper of the investigation into the girl’s disappearance and death.
Greeley is about 50 miles north of Denver. The location of the construction site where the remains were found is along a rural route in Weld County.
Police told the Tribune last December that they had reopened the case and were reviewing old interviews and conducting new ones.
They appealed to the public for information from anyone who might of seen or spoken with Jonelle in the days or weeks before she disappeared.
Police also said they would look at new investigative techniques that weren’t available in 1984, but details of that effort weren’t immediately known
Then-President Ronald Reagan mentioned Jonelle’s disappearance in March 1985 when he addressed a group of newspaper editors in Washington, D.C., and asked them to publish photos of missing children nationwide, calling it a “mission of mercy.”
Reagan said the girl “would have celebrated a happy 13th birthday with her family just last month. But five days before Christmas, Jonelle disappeared from her home.”