Mother’s Murder And Infant’s Kidnapping Unsolved Nearly 20 Years Later


Sylena Jo Dalton and her infant daughter were last seen alive on the morning of July 27, 1998. The 20 year old mother and her two month old child, Allyson Dalton, were in good spirits at 7:45am when a family member visited them at their Strasburg, Virginia, apartment.

An Unsolved Murder & A Kidnapping

The devastating scene wouldn't be discovered until later that afternoon when a concerned co-worker stopped by the apartment. Sylena had been stabbed to death and her lifeless body left precariously covered on the couch. Reports would later show that she had been stabbed six times, five times in the chest, and that the wounds were deep enough to pierce her heart, lungs, liver and stomach. Minimal wounds on her hands and a lack of blood spatter suggested that Sylena had been sleeping when she was attacked. But baby Allyson was missing, along with several of her bottles and the weapon that was used to kill her mother. Despite the fact that neighbors don't recall seeing or hearing anything out of the ordinary, police believe that Sylena's murder and Allyson's kidnapping occurred sometime between 9:15 and 10:30 that morning.

Authorities would later search the Warrenton, Virginia, home of Daniel E. Pompell, a former boyfriend of Sylena's, but would find no evidence of the missing girl or her whereabouts. According to a search warrant filed by police in Fauquier county, Pompell was at Sylena's apartment at the approximate time of her death and had a motive for murder. Just before her death, the young mother had filed a case with the Division of Child Support Enforcement - a case that reported Daniel Pompell as the probably father of Allyson. According to the search warrant, Pompell was aware of - and enraged by - the financial burden he knew a positive paternity test result would bring him. He had been served with a summons the day the murder took place.

Sylena Jo Dalton's gravestone located in Panorama Memorial Gardens, Waterlick, Virginia. Photo credit: FDP on
An Unresolved Motive

Sylena's mother, Angela Dalton, would eventually file a wrongful death suit against Pompell for $1.5 million, alleging he killed her daughter and kidnapped Allyson. Angela lived with her daughter and granddaughter in the apartment, but was out when the murder and kidnapping took place. Angela stated that Sylena had wanted to keep her child support case out of the courts because she was afraid of Daniel and that he would come after her; Authorities had been called several times to the home for domestic disputes.

Police focused their investigation on two men who could have been Allyson's father, and decided they were satisfied with the alibi of one man. Daniel Pompell would later admit to Crime Watch Daily with Chris Hansen that a paternity test had shown he was in fact the father of Allyson Dalton. At the time of the unsolved murder Daniel was married and had four daughters with his wife, Tiffany. During the investigation Pompell said that he did go to Sylena's apartment that morning, but that he had knocked and left the area when he received no answer. In 2016 private investigator Christopher Borba discovered that a neighbor of Sylena's had heard a noise around the time of the murder and had looked outside to see a white male placing a baby in the passenger seat of a pickup. That witness has since passed away.

An Ongoing Battle

The unsolved murder of Sylena and the kidnapping of Allyson Dalton have created a number of discussions, disagreements and additional mysteries online. Comments left on a blog post provided two possible matches for Allyson Dalton, one of these matches was compared via DNA and it was determined that she was not Allyson. In a series of comments found on the Justice For Sylena And Allyson Dalton Facebook page, disagreements quickly arose regarding the discovery of Sylena's body and those present:

Allyson Kathleen Dalton was born May 17, 1998, and is a Caucasian female with blue eyes. At the time of her abduction she had brown hair and was 1'8" tall and weighed approximately 8 pounds. She would be 20 years old at the time of this article.

Agency Contacts

Family and friends of Sylena and Allyson Dalton are asked to contact us with any additional comments, facts or corrections they would like to contribute to this story. Anyone with information on the murder of Sylena Dalton or the abduction/whereabouts of Allyson Dalton is urged to contact the Virginia State Police at 888-300-0156, the Virginia Bureau of Criminal Investigation at 800-572-2260 or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 800-THE-LOST.

Reminder: Please DO NOT contact anyone except the police or your local law enforcement agency with tips regarding missing/unidentified persons and unsolved cases to prevent breakdowns of communication that could potentially make the case/investigating the information harder. ONLY contact a law enforcement agency with important information.