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Former Idaho Governor Candidate Indicted In 1984 Killing

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A former Idaho gubernatorial candidate has been indicted in the murder of Jonelle Matthews, a 12-year-old girl who went missing in Colorado after a holiday concert in 1984, officials said Tuesday.

Steve Pankey ran as a Constitution Party candidate for governor in 2014 and as a Republican in the 2018 primary. He contacted the Idaho Statesman in September 2019 to tell his side of the story, fearing a possible arrest.

He did not immediately return phone or email messages from The Associated Press on Tuesday. Last week, he told the Times-News in Twin Falls, Idaho, that he was being framed in the case.

Pankey lived near Jonelle's family when she disappeared, the newspaper reported. His family attended church with hers, but at different times. He said those are the only connections he has to her or her family.

An autopsy by the medical examiner found that Jonelle died from a single gunshot wound to her forehead, according to Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke.

Pankey faces several charges including the murder and kidnapping of Jonelle. He was arrested at his home on Monday in Meridian, Idaho, following the court’s indictment and is currently being held in an Idaho jail without bond as he awaits extradition to Colorado, Rourke said.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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