Greeley police chief speaks out about Jonelle Matthews homicide investigation

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GREELEY, Colo. -- The chief of the Greeley Police Department said the decades-old homicide investigation into the death of Jonelle Matthews is personal for him. He had been an officer for about nine months when the girl went missing.

“It’s my town. It’s my community, and it’s personal from the standpoint of obviously law enforcement wants to do everything they can to solve every case of this nature,” said Chief Mark Jones. “This one rises obviously to the top just because it has been so long, and we’ve been working on it off and on for so long.”

Earlier this month, Greeley police officers conducted a search warrant at an Idaho home belonging to Steve Pankey, who previously lived in Greeley during the 1980s.

Jones said it is relatively rare for his officers to leave the state for a search warrant.

“It’s certainly something that we don’t do weekly or monthly, but there are a number of cases that this police department has been involved with throughout the years that we’ve had to go out of state for a number of reasons,” he said.

Jones said he couldn’t give a timeline as to when the public would see additional developments in the case but promised to deliver information when his detectives had something solid to share.

“I understand that people want to know and understand everything that’s going on, but this is a very important case to us. I just want to make sure that everything is handled the very best that it can be,” he said.

Jones said the methodical investigation could take another two weeks, two months or two years.

Lori Jane Gliha wrote this report.

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