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.
A 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.
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.
A Crime Watch Daily Confession
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 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.
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.
Unsolved Murder & Missing Person Agency Contacts
Those with additional public information or contacts related to this article please contact us. Persons with information regarding the murder of Sylena Jo Dalton or the abduction/whereabouts of Allyson Kathleen Dalton are are urged to contact the Virginia State Police at (888) 300-0156; the Virginia Bureau of Criminal Investigation at 800-572-2260; the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 800-THE-LOST; or your local law enforcement agency.
- 31 Jul 2017 - State Police Culpeper office releases age-progression photo of baby girl abducted 19 years ago
The Washington Post
Find A Grave - Sylena Jo Dalton
Reddit - Unresolved Mysteries
Facebook - Justice For Sylena And Allyson Dalton
The Charley Project - Allyson Kathleen Dalton
NAMUS - MP # 5992 - Allyson Kathleen Dalton
Websleuths - VA - Allyson Dalton, 2 mos, Strasburg, 27 July 1998