Skull, bones, and braces of missing 12-year-old girl found at oil site 35 years after her disappearance
Oil site workers found the remains of Jonelle Mathews and tattered blue and red clothes, similar to what she was last seen wearing.
COLORADO: The cold case of a missing 12-year-old Colorado girl has now come to a tragic close. The girl's remains were found buried beneath an oil and gas site not too far away from the city, 35 years after she went missing on December 20, 1984.
Jonelle Mathews was last seen sporting a blue vest and redshirt while performing in a Christmas concert with the Franklin Middle School Honor Choir in Greeley, Colorado. Post the concert, Jonelle's friend and her friend's father dropped her back home at 8 pm. Jonelle lived with her father, Jim, mother, Gloria, and sister, Jennifer. According to her parents, they arrived home at 10 pm at night to find their front door open with their 12-year-old missing.
Her shoes were found by the chair, her stockings had been thrown over the couch but Jonelle was missing. No arrests were ever made. The local community commemorated the 34th anniversary of her disappearance in December 2018. As reported by the Greeley Tribune, oilfield workers who were digging a pipeline unearthed a tiny hole that contained the remains of the missing child.
The authorities who had recovered the body from the scene shared that the remains were found with what looked like tattered blue and red clothes which belonged to Jonelle. They also found a skull, bones, and a severed jaw fit with braces. Greeley Police Sgt. Joe Tymkowych said, "We're still chasing down leads."
Jonelle's sister Jennifer Mogensen remembered her as "a strong, independent, opinionated 12-year-old. She knew what she wanted and how things should be done." Mogensen added that their parents, Jim and Gloria Mathews, are retired and living in Costa Rica. "They're sad. They're grateful for all the hard work the Greeley Police Department has done," Mogensen said. She also said her parents would travel to Greeley at some point but the plans were not certain.
The Tribune had reported that the workers were building a new pipeline when they discovered the bones on July 23. Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams revealed that his deputies were treating the case as a homicide investigation.