Former Idaho governor nominee arrested for murdering a girl in 1984

Former Idaho governor nominee arrested for murdering a girl in 1984

According to authorities, an Idaho man who ran for governor several years ago was arrested for the 1984 murder of a 12-year-old girl.

According to detectives, Stephen Pankey kidnapped Jonelle Matthews from her home in Greeley, Colorado on the night of December 20, 1984, after which he shot the girl in the head and hid the body. Then, in an attempt to secure an alibi, he organized a «spontaneous» family trip, which had already aroused the suspicions of his ex-wife Angela Hicks.

According to Hicks, along the way, Panky behaved in an unusual manner and intensely searched the radio for news of Jonelle's disappearance. After their return home, Angela noticed her husband digging in the yard — and two days later, one of the couple's cars suddenly caught fire.

According to the prosecution, since then Panky has repeatedly tried to intervene in the investigation of Jonelle's disappearance over the years, claiming to have information about him. Each time his behavior became more “inconsistent and incriminating”.

Matthews has been missing for decades. Her remains were found at Greeley in July 2019.

Panky, 69, is charged with first-degree murder and second-degree kidnapping. He was arrested at his home on Monday.

According to KMGH, Pankey ran for Governor of Idaho as the Republican nominee in 2018. Prior to that, he ran again in 2014 — for the Constitutional Party.