Steven Pankey

Steven Pankey – Actor, Comedian, and Writer

Jonelle Matthews, 12, went missing in 1984 and her body was discovered 30 years later in 2019. Police suspect it may have been murdered.

Steven Pankey was Jonelle’s close friend, and kept up with the case even after moving away to Idaho. He ran for governor as a Constitution Party candidate both times but failed both attempts.

Early Life and Education

Steven Pankey hails from La Puente, California where he attended alternative high school. Later he earned a bachelor’s degree at University of Missouri before earning a master of counseling psychology degree from Avila University.

He was involved in multiple law suits and ran for public office as a write-in candidate in Idaho’s Republican primary in 2004 as an independent write-in candidate. Since then he has relocated to Shoshone, Idaho.

Pankey claimed he went on a family trip the day after Jonelle Matthews vanished and did not become aware of her disappearance until the following day. This claim soon fell apart when he began searching for Jonelle online and trying to delete traces of these searches over time, as well as telling people that she was dead.

Professional Career

Steven Pankey is an American actor, comedian, and writer best known for his roles on FOX’s Kitchen Confidential (FOX), HBO’s Sex in the City (HBO), and NBC’s Third Watch (NBC).

He has appeared in multiple comedy podcasts. Additionally, he ran for governor twice–once as a Constitution Party candidate and once as part of the Republican gubernatorial primary–but never came close to winning either election.

He was an individual of interest in Jonelle Matthews case and repeatedly called police with information regarding her disappearance. He offered immunity as compensation, but police rejected his offer. Subsequently, he was arrested in Idaho and is currently waiting extradition back to Colorado.

Achievement and Honors

Pankey became obsessed with Jonelle Matthews’ disappearance in 1984 and claimed he knew of her death; even going as far as to say that he would provide information in exchange for immunity. Three decades after her disappearance, workers discovered Jonelle’s remains at an oil and gas site – leading authorities to arrest Pankey as suspect for murdering Jonelle.

Pankey was initially found not guilty in 2021 after his trial concluded as a mistrial; however, in his retrial in 2022, he was found guilty on five felony charges including kidnapping and murder and received a life sentence from Idaho prisons. Pankey ran as an Idaho Constitution Party candidate twice for governor between 2014 and 2018, but lost each time with only small percentages of votes cast for him.

Personal Life

Pankey remains troubled by Jonelle Matthews’ disappearance despite his arrest and conviction, as evidenced by an inability to find employment opportunities and financial troubles for himself and his family.

He claims he is being targeted by police, with sources alleging they will kill and then frame him for Jonelle’s murder.

Following Jonelle’s disappearance and in the years that have ensued, her actions and his subsequent behavior have been bizarre and alarming. He wrote and self-published a book alleging a secret group of pastors at his Greeley, Colorado church are engaged in rape-murders; ran twice unsuccessfully for governor of Idaho (both times losing); is currently imprisoned;

Net Worth

In 2019, he was arrested for the 1984 cold case murder of Jonelle Matthews, while running for Governor in Idaho as a Republican candidate and living between Ketchum and Idaho Falls.

Authorities allege that Pankey intentionally interposed himself into their investigation multiple times over time, providing inconsistent and increasingly damning testimony. He also claimed to possess information related to this case which he would only share in exchange for immunity.

Law enforcement officials seized Pankey’s financial records and electronic devices during their investigation and discovered he had searched the case thousands of times prior to being officially named as their person of interest, an activity particularly suspicious given his unreliable alibi for Jonelle’s disappearance on that night.

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