WELD COUNTY, Colo. — Following a court order, the Weld County Coroner's Office on Friday released a heavily redacted autopsy report for 12-year-old Jonelle Matthews, whose remains were found last year more than 34 years after she disappeared in 1984.
Jonelle disappeared after performing in a Christmas concert in Greeley on Dec. 20, 1984. She was last seen being dropped off at her Greeley home by a friend and the friend's father. When her parents came home about an hour later, Jonelle's shoes had been left behind, the front door was open and the TV was on.
A crew excavating an area in rural Weld County for a pipeline near Weld County Roads 49 and 34 1/2 found bones on July 23, 2019. Based on evidence found at the scene, which included some clothing and a skull with dental work, investigators determined they belonged to Jonelle.
Over the following two days, the bones were examined, according to the autopsy report released Friday. The report noted that the remains were received in a body bag and were wrapped in a white bed sheet, and that the bones were mixed with dirt and debris. The bones were separated and X-rays were taken, but results of any testing or findings from the autopsy are redacted from the report.
The bones were then provided to a forensic anthropologist for a more thorough examination.
In August 2019, the Matthews family held a service 34 years in the making — a "closure celebration" was held in Greeley to put to rest Jonelle's remains.
More than 100 people attended to tell their stories of Jonelle, share memories, and say one final goodbye.
"When Jonelle was missing, this family, Greeley, the community just rallied to us," said Jim Matthews, Jonelle's father. "Sometimes you just don’t experience this love, and the prayers. That was what sustained us through this time."
No arrests have been made. Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Det. Robert Cash at 970-350-9601 or the tip line at 970-351-5100.
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