After 38 years, suspect identified in 9-year-old girl’s killing
Ruth Brown, Idaho Statesman
Published at | Updated at
It’s been more than 38 years since 9-year-old Daralyn Johnson was abducted in Nampa, sexually abused and killed.
On Monday, the Idaho Statesman reports authorities finally identified the man they believe is responsible: David Dalrymple, 62, who is currently incarcerated for kidnapping and sexually abusing a different child. He now faces charges of first-degree murder and rape.
Dalrymple was convicted of kidnapping, sexual abuse of a child younger than age 16 and lewd conduct involving a child younger than age 16 in 2004, and would have been eligible for parole in 2023. He is serving a 20-years-to-life sentence for kidnapping and sexual assault of a minor, according to Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue.
On Monday afternoon, Canyon County authorities announced at a press conference that they sent DNA samples from Daralyn’s body to a lab in California to try to identify a suspect. Dalrymple was interviewed at the state prison in Kuna, where he’s being housed, and charges were filed.
Donahue said authorities have reason to believe the suspect has multiple other victims. They’ve identified at least two who never came forward, in addition to Daralyn and the victim he was convicted of assaulting in 2004, the sheriff said.
Canyon County Prosecutor Bryan Taylor said they are asking anyone with information about the suspect or who may have been a victim to come forward.
In a probable cause affidavit written by Detective Mark Taylor, of the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office, he wrote that during his investigation he found two other victims who had been sexually abuse by Dalrymple and never reported the abuse.
“One victim was sexually abused by David Dalrymple between the ages of 8-11,” Taylor wrote. “The other victim was sexually abused by him between the ages of 9-11. One of these victims disclosed David Dalrymple took her down to the river near Eagle, Idaho, and threatened to ‘make her disappear’ if she disclosed the abuse.”
DARALYN’S ABDUCTION, AND DALRYMPLE’S ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT
On Feb. 24, 1982, Daralyn went missing after her daily six-block walk to Lincoln Elementary School in Nampa. She never arrived at school.
Three days later, she was found dead in a shallow drain ditch along the Snake River. The child had been raped, assaulted and drowned. The wrong man, Charles Fain, was convicted and sentenced for her killing, but he was released in 2001 after being exonerated.
Until recently, the case had remained cold.
According to a copy of Dalrymple’s probable cause affidavit, Dalrymple was eventually identified after Fain was exonerated, when authorities tested a remaining pubic hair found on Daralyn’s body.
In 2018, the hair was sent to the University of California, Santa Cruz, lab under the direction of Dr. Edward Green, according to the document. The lab was able to use a DNA technique to develop an SNP profile, or single-nucleotide polymorphism, to identify certain stretch of DNA.
The pubic hair was determined to be male. From there, the FBI was able to identify a family line tied to the Dalrymple family. The family included four boys and two girls from Idaho.
The two girls were eliminated immediately, and two of the brothers were quickly eliminated because they were too young to drive and were living in McCall at the time of Daralyn’s death. The third brother was in the Army and based in California at the time of the girl’s death. That brother also voluntarily gave police a DNA sample and was eliminated from the list of suspects.
David Dalrymple was living in Nampa at the time of the girl’s death, and he lived along the route where the girl walked to school, according to the probable cause affidavit.
On Feb. 24, Dalrymple was interviewed at the Idaho prison, and when a detective told him he was inquiring about a 1982 abduction, Dalrymple almost immediately said that he was not living in Nampa and that he was in the military at the time, according to the affidavit. Police had already verified that Dalrymple was discharged from the military in January 1981.
When police confronted him about being convicted of two DUIs in 1981 in Idaho, he reportedly said he was living in McCall with his parents and didn’t move to Nampa until 1983.
“When asked if he knew anything about the case, he said he was aware that Charles Fain had been on death row and had been exonerated because of DNA evidence,” according to the probable cause affidavit. “He was asked to give consent for buccal (cheek) swab and refused, telling me to get warrant.”
Police obtained a warrant and attempted to execute it on March 12. The affidavit states that “Dalrymple refused to comply and a subsequent use of force detention order was obtained.”
Police then obtained a DNA sample and sent the sample to Dr. Green. On April 30, police received a report stating that it was Green’s conclusion that the DNA sample from Dalrymple was genetically identical to the pubic hair found on Daralyn Johnson’s body.
A WRONGFUL CONVICTION
Fain was exonerated after spending 18 years on Idaho’s death row, where he was housed after being wrongfully convicted of murder and sexual assault.
DNA testing cleared Fain, making the girl’s killing a cold case, and there had been no news the past two decades. Pubic hairs found on Daralyn’s clothing did not match Fain’s DNA. Fain’s case was one of the first in the country in which scientists used mitochondrial DNA, which is found in hair, to determine whether it belonged to a particular suspect, according to previous reports.
Fain was 34 years old when he was sent to prison and 52 when he was released.
After years without publicly speaking, Fain spoke at the Idaho Legislature this year when a bill was pitched by Rep. Doug Ricks, R-Rexburg, HB 384, that would have offered compensation to people who were wrongfully convicted. The bill would have paid $60,000 per year for wrongful incarceration and $75,000 per year for inmates on death row.
The bill passed both chambers, but Gov. Brad Little vetoed it on March 30.