American Scandal

Every scandal begins with a lie. But the truth will come out. And then comes the fallout and the outrage.

Scandals have shaped America since its founding. From business and politics to sports and society, we look on aghast as corruption, deceit and ambition bring down heroes and celebrities, politicians and moguls. And when the dust finally settles, we’re left to wonder: how did this happen? Where did they trip up, and who is to blame? From the creators of American History Tellers, Business Wars and Tides of History comes American Scandal, where we take you deep into the heart of America’s dark side to look at what drives someone to break the rules and what happens when they’re caught. Hosted by Lindsay Graham.

New episodes come out every Tuesday for free, with 1-week early access for Wondery+ subscribers. Get all episodes - including exclusive seasons - ad-free on Wondery+ or on Amazon Music with a Prime membership or Amazon Music Unlimited subscription.

Introducing SUSPECT: Vanished in the Snow

Introducing SUSPECT: Vanished in the Snow

Fri, 03 Mar 2023 09:00

For more than three and a half decades, the disappearance of 12-year-old Jonelle Matthews was a mystery – a riddle neither authorities nor her family members could solve. The residents of her cloistered Colorado hometown had scoured every inch of prairie. Jonelle’s face had been on milk cartons nationwide. Even the President of the United States had appealed to the public for help. Still, every lead had fizzled. Every person of interest had turned out to be a dead end.

Then, in 2019, Jonelle’s remains were unearthed near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. With the discovery came a troubling new question: Had the truth been hiding in plain sight the entire time? Was the man who couldn’t stop obsessing over Jonelle’s disappearance also the person who took her? From Campside Media and Wondery comes season two of SUSPECT. Former CNN reporter Ashley Fantz and executive producers Matthew Shaer and Eric Benson (Suspect, Over My Dead Body) dig into one of the most mind-bending cold cases in modern history, in an attempt to separate fact and fiction, compulsion from guilt, and true-crime fandom from a motive for murder.

Hey Prime Members, you can binge all 6 episodes of SUSPECT: Vanished in the Snow ad-free on Amazon Music. Download the Amazon Music app today:

See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

Listen to Episode

Copyright © © 2018 Wondery, Inc.

Read Episode Transcript

On a winter night in a small community near Denver, Colorado, Jim Matthews arrived home late. He expected to find his 12-year-old daughter who'd been dropped off after a Christmas concert. But when he called out, hey, Janelle, the house was eerily quiet. His daughter's shoes were on the floor, but she was gone, and it would be 35 years before she would be found. Dead. After the discovery of Janelle Matthews' body in 2019, the police turned their attention to a man who had told law enforcement years ago that he knew something, but they dismissed him. The man did seem obsessed with the case, but is that all he was? A true crime fanatic, or was he a killer? Wondery and campside media shocking true crime podcast suspect is back for a second season, this time with a story that attempts to separate fact from fiction, compulsion from guilt, and one man's true crime obsession from a motive for murder. You're about to hear a clip from suspect vanished in the snow while you're listening. Follow suspect wherever you get your podcasts, and hey, prime members, you can binge all six episodes ad-free on Amazon Music. Download the Amazon Music app today. Well County is a desert. It feels relatively warm outside for Colorado in December, and the sky is just this Caribbean blue. It's winter, but it's hot out, dry, and dusty. The snow-capped Rocky Mountains are all behind us. Ahead, it's flat. The horizon goes on forever. I feel like we're in the Wikipedia tumbleweeds. Don't you feel rich in tumbleweeds? Yeah. Oh, shit. I can't wait to see what the whole tear ass down this road. A few of the trucks passing us are souped up, brand new, tires jacked high, oil and gas workers apparently unbothered by speed limits if there is a speed limit out here. We're relieved to turn into a dirt driveway of a lone rambling house. Hi guys. Hello again. Oh no, it's nice to meet you. I'm Jody. Vance and Jody Gilliland lives so far from most of their neighbors that it's easier to drive to see them. Across from their house is a field that stretches about a thousand acres. It's full of brush and weeds. The kind of place where people often, well, abandon things. Old mattresses, washers and dryers, even boats. It's like, wow. Almost 10 to 10. Hook that up and take it home and see what I can do. But no, I mean, people still still do dump things out here, but it's usually quick and run, quick and run. I mean, what they can show up the back of a truck in two seconds. In the summer of 2019, Vance and Jody were in their kitchen when they saw blue and red lights flashing across the perimeter of their property. All of a sudden, there was cop cars going by and I was like, uh oh. Up until it was dark actually, they were out there. They were out there forever. Vance and Jody soon learned those oil and gas workers and their fancy pickups. They'd unearthed a small human skull with a single bullet hole in it. And authorities knew exactly who the remains belong to. It is the cold case that has baffled the Greeley community for nearly 35 years, but tonight police may be closer to figuring out what happened to Janelle Matthews. The 12 year old disappeared from her home in late 1984. Her remains were discovered this week by a construction crew in rural Weld County. Gone for 35 years. Today, human remains found at an oil and gas site in Greeley, given investigators new leads on a decades old cold case. Like a lot of Colorado residents who had been following Janelle's case since the 1980s, Vance and Jody watched the news reports with fascination. They waited to hear what would happen next, hoping that the remains in the field would finally lead investigators to the killer. As it turned out, it wouldn't be nearly so simple. This is a story about obsession, my own, sure. So I am working on a podcast about the Janelle Matthews case. I know you know about that case, right? I assume you're probably well first. I thought I'd try you one last time. But also the obsession of a community that kept pushing to find Janelle to get her name into the national spotlight and all the way to the White House. For example, I learned about Janelle Matthews of Greeley, Colorado, who would have celebrated a happy 13th birthday with her family just last month. And it's about the obsessions of a self-described true crime junkie, a man who had started talking about the Janelle Matthews case just a few days after police responded to a distress call from her home. And over the next 35 years, he kept talking and talking. It was just me trying to be a big man in the case. He's a busy body. He gets himself in the middle of murder cases, but that doesn't necessarily mean he actually was involved in them. He's like, oh, he's just crazy and he's just a ding-batter or whatever else. And he's harmless. He wouldn't hurt anybody. He says a good liar that he can convince the juror that he wasn't involved. So, you know, he's a liar. He is. He's a good one. I turn around and I said, you're going to be arrested for obstructing if you don't get back in your car. And he says, don't fuck with me, Officer Edgerton. I've buried more people than you'll know. I mean, you shut General Matthews in the forehead with she begging for her life. Never have I. Hey, prime members, you can binge all six episodes of Suspect, vanished in the snow, and had free on Amazon Music.