Thursday, September 03, 2009

Jonelle and Jaycee

Missing Since 1984

Jonelle Renee Matthews

Age progression to 31 years old

Date of Birth - 2/9/72
Date Missing - 12/20/84
Missing from - Greeley, Colorado
L.E.A. - Greeley Police Dept.
Contact - Sgt. Brad Goldschmidt
Telephone Number - (970) 350-9682

ID Info - NCIC #M-141276311. Jonelle is a white female, 5'3" tall, weighs 115 pounds, has curly brown hair and brown eyes. She has a full set of braces on her teeth and a scar under chin. She was last seen wearing a charcoal gray skirt, a red blouse, a gray sweater vest and a light blue ski jacket.

Circumstances - No one was home when Jonelle returned home at 8:30p.m. from her Chorale Program. Her father came home at 9:30 p.m. and the lights and TV were on but Jonelle was nowhere to be found. Her stockings and shoes were on the floor and the garage door was open. The Greeley police discovered footprints in the garage and in the back of the house.

If you see this missing child or know where he or she is located, please contact the Child Protection Education of America, Inc. at 866-USA-CHILD or the law enforcement agency above.

Details of Disappearance

Jonelle was dropped off by friends at her family's residence in Greeley, Colorado on December 20, 1984 at approximately 8:15 p.m. She was returning from a Christmas choral program at a nursing home and was to wait for the rest of her family to arrive at the home. Her older sister and her father, Jim Matthews, were at a basketball game and her mother, Gloria Matthews, was visiting relatives out of state. Jonelle was last heard from at 8:30 p.m., when she spoke to an acquaintance of her father on the phone.

Jonelle's father, Jim Matthews, arrived at the house at approximately 9:30 p.m. and discovered she had disappeared. Jonelle's stockings and shoes were on the floor and the television and lights were turned on. She had also taken a phone message for another family member. The garage door was discovered open and investigators located footprints inside the garage and around the back of the family's home. Authorities suspect that an unknown intruder or intruders broke into the residence and abducted Jonelle that evening. She has never been seen again.

Jonelle's biological mother, Terri Vierra-Martinez, located the child's adoptive parents in 1997. Vierra-Martinez learned about Jonelle's disappearance at that time. She also discovered that law enforcement had kept her under surveillance for six weeks after Jonelle's 1984 abduction. Authorities were not permitted to give Vierra-Martinez any information concerning her daughter's case at the time due to adoption laws. Vierra-Martinez is not a suspect in Jonelle's disappearance. She has become friends with Jonelle's adoptive parents. Jim and Gloria believe that their daughter is deceased and have held a memorial service for her. (I had never this about Jonelle being adopted until I found this article tonight).

Media reports stated that several investigators theorized that Jonelle was sexually assaulted inside her residence on the evening of her 1984 disappearance. They believed that she may have been murdered by the unknown attacker(s) and her remains were incinerated to hide the crimes. Other investigators believed that Jonelle was abducted and taken elsewhere. Her case remains unsolved.

Jonelle's family attended a church of our denomination in Greeley. Her dad was a principal in a junior high. When they couldn't find Jonelle, her parents followed a dream they had always had of owning a restaurant and they moved to the Seattle area to follow this dream. They felt a need to be away from the scene of so much sadness. The people of Greeley and surrounding areas spent many Saturdays searching fields and river beds.

Several years later they came back to Colorado, in case she came back looking for them and they were gone.

A few years ago, our camp built a wonderful conference center in her honor. This is the same place that the new chapel in Dan Walker's honor.

Jonelle had a mouthful of braces and I always had the thought in my mind that somebody was going to have to remove those braces someday. All dentists in the country were given information about her. Most likely she is not alive.

But this past week with the amazing news of Jaycee Dugard being found after 18 years of captivity by her abductor, I immediately began to wonder if it could be possible that Jonelle is being held somewhere.

I just hope and pray that Jaycee and her daughters, who thought she was their sister, will be able to have a "normal" life.


Hootin' Anni said...

What a wonderful, warm and caring post Dawn!! It's great to read that they named something in her honor. It's such a sad world to have to contend with this...and I can imagine what it's like for parents and wouldn't want that on anyone's shoulders.

Beautiful post.

Hope you have a super holiday weekend.

Linda said...

What a heartbreaking story Dawn. I can't think of anything worse than the not knowing.
It is always wonderful the way a community comes together to help. I am sure the memorial means a great deal to her family.
Have a great holiday weekend.

Needled Mom said...

I cannot imagine being a parent of a child who disappears into thin air. It would certainly haunt you forever. I am so glad that Jaycee was found and can only imagine what the poor girl has gone through all these years. It will certainly make all parents of missing children pause and think if it is possible that their child might be in the same situation. I am sure that this is a time when one is so thankful to have their faith.

Have a nice weekend, Dawn.

Midlife Mom said...

I have been following the story about Jaycee on the news and just can't imagine what the last 18 years have been like. What a horrible monster that man is to do that to her all those years. Obviously he is a very sick man and without a heart change will always be that way. My heart goes out to all of those that have missing children, my mind just can't even get around that kind of thing happening to one of mine. So nice that the camp put up a building in her name, she will never be forgotten. Each and every day we should be asking God's protection around our loved ones especially the helpless children. Great post Dawn!!!! xoxox

Nadine said...

I would imagine that Jaycee's mom "buried" her years ago. What a miracle to be found alive. What horrors that poor girl went through. I pray for her healing and the healing of her children having had to live in the way they did.

May a miracle be for Jonelle also and that she will be found.

Sharon Lynne said...

So sad. I hope she is found...and many like her, who have disappeared.

Prayers ascending.

Mary said...


I can't help but think she probably isn't alive, but then you never know. These types of stories are so sad. Why anyone would want to hurt the innocent I'll never know but it seems to be becoming more prevelent all the time. They finally found the body of the 8 year old who disappeared here in April. Very sad case.

Yes, Brandon was a hero for finding Dakota with the battery. He took it from him immediately. Dakota is very curious and likes to chew on things. I'm hoping he grows out of that habit soon.

Take care and enjoy the rest of the long weekend.

Linda said...

Hi Dawn,
Hope you're enjoying this holiday weekend.
Thanks for your comment. The challenge is for forty days. I'm beginning to wonder if I can do it, but I'm certainly going to try hard. Join in if you'd like. Have you seen Holley's blog and the new (In)Courage blog she and others have started?
Here is the link to her blog:
The link to the other blog in on hers.
Sending you love and hugs,

Diane@Diane's Place said...

I cannot imagine the trauma of not knowing if your child is being tortured or if they're even still alive. I almost think it would be less heartbreaking to know that they're dead than to live with the never knowing for sure.

Happy Labor Day! Hope y'all have a good day for it. :o)

Love and hugs,


PEA said...

The worst part for me would be the not knowing...I don't think I could take that. At least if they find the body, then you can have closure. It's so sad to read stories of missing children, it's something that should never be happening. Like you, I was so shocked when I heard the news that Jaycee had been found after all those years and no doubt that will have given hope to Jonelle's family.

Happy Labour Day to you and yours, dear Dawn. I truly do apologize for not having been around to visit the last week, I just didn't have time and really missed all of you. xoxo

nancygrayce said...

I was so thrilled about Jaycee being found....I think it will give hope to many parents who have had a child abducted. I'm sorry there are people in this world who would hurt children for their own twisted pleasure!

I pray that if Jonelle is alive, she will be found. I agree not knowing would be horrible!

Sammy said...

Sorry I missed this post, Dawn. I've also been following the story of Jaycee's return, plus the other high-profile cases of missing children who have been found. As a new mom, the thought is too terrifying to think too hard about. I definitely think that the not knowing would eat me alive.

Gotta go hug my baby now! :-)