Idaho police say they have solved the rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl nearly 38 years ago—for the second time.
David Dalrymple, who is already serving time for molesting a child, was charged Monday with killing Daralyn Johnson, a crime another man was convicted of only to be exonerated after 18 years on death row.
“This is a day that a local family has been waiting for over nearly four decades,” Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Taylor said at a news conference.
“It’s a day that will in time see wrongs righted and justice served.”
Daralyn left her home in Nampa at 8 a.m. on Feb. 21, 1982, but never made it to school. Her body was found by fishermen three days later in a drain ditch near the Snake River.
An autopsy determined that she had been sexually assaulted and beaten, though the cause of her death was drowning.
After a yearlong investigation, a local man named Charles Fain was arrested on less-than-ironclad evidence: His hair was similar to hair found on the body; he had a car that looked like one seen near the crime scene; and jailhouse informants testified against him.
Fain passed a polygraph, but the jury that convicted him never heard about it and he was locked up on death row—where he continued to proclaim his innocence.
In 2001, Fain was exonerated after DNA tests that were not available at the time of his conviction showed he was not the killer.
Canyon County authorities say the case has remained active since then.
According to a 2011 story in the Idaho Statesman, a lieutenant in the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office followed leads to Arizona, California, Nevada, Wyoming, Oregon, and Oklahoma, and checked the DNA of more than a dozen men without any hits.
In 2018, Sheriff Kieran Donahue’s office sent a pubic hair that was found on Daralyn’s body to a lab in California, and genealogical DNA sleuthing led investigators to Dalrymple’s family, according to a probable cause affidavit.
He was already doing 20 to life for kidnapping and sexually abusing a little girl in 2004, and police believe he has more victims. They said they have identified two other girls who say they were molested by him but never reported it.
Dalrymple, 62, was questioned in prison in February but denied being in Nampa at the time of Daralyn’s murder, according to prosecutors. However, investigators were able to disprove his various alibis.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, authorities will wait until the summer to serve the arrest warrant on him.
Daralyn’s parents could not be reached for comment, but in 2011 they said they were still hoping for a break in the case.
“It’s still just really hard,” Dennis Johnson said then. “Maybe I just haven’t come to any kind of terms with it. But if there’s any chance of anything coming from it, then it’s worth it.”