Greeley Police put renewed effort into missing persons case that began 34 years ago

GREELEY, Colo. --  A renewed effort is underway to solve the 34-year-old missing persons case of Jonelle Matthews.

Police believe retesting evidence with new technology will help bring answers. They have also released the last known video of Matthews and passed out 2,000 flyers hoping someone will remember something.

In a cable network video, a smiling 12-year-old girl belts out the lyrics to a Christmas classic. But just hours after Jonelle Matthew’s choir concert at Franklin Middle School in Greeley – she vanished.

It was the night of December 20, 1984. Police said after the concert, Jonelle got a ride home. She was last seen entering her residence, 320 43rd Ave Court, around 8 p.m.

“She rode home with a friend and the friend’s father, dropped her off at her door,” Sgt. Joseph Tymkowych with the Greeley Police Department said.

But when Jonelle’s parents got home at 10 p.m., the family told police they found the front door open, and Jonelle’s shoes by a chair and her stockings thrown over the couch. Her parents spoke about their daughter's disappearance.

“The toughest time for me is when it gets dark and then I say oh no not another night. Then in the morning you wake up and you say oh this is not a dream… its real,” Jonelle’s mother said.

Now three decades have passed with no signs of Jonelle. But Greeley Police are putting a renewed focus on the case - combing through old evidence and using new technology.

“There are advancements in methods, technology and forensic science,” Sgt. Tymkowych said.

FOX31: “Do you believe that she’s still alive?”

Sgt. Tymkowych: “I hope she is. And as we know there’s different scenarios that could have happened here. On the other hand we have to believe the other could be a possibility too.”

Investigators said the choir video has provided them with new leads, but at this point they won’t elaborate further. As part of their efforts police will re-contact witnesses and put Jonelle’s picture back out in the public. Their department is determined to solve this case.

Police want to talk with anyone who may have had contact with Jonelle in the weeks, days and hours leading up to her disappearance. Police are offering a cash reward for information. Here is the tip line phone number: 970-351-5100.

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