Police ask for clues in 1998 murder, abduction

This is an age progression photo of Allyson Dalton. Illustration by Virginia State Police.

Authorities renewed their plea this week for the public’s help in solving a woman’s murder and her child’s abduction.

Virginia police also released a new image of what the child, Allyson Kathleen Dalton, might look like now as a 19-year-old woman in an effort to revive interest in the cold case and bring new evidence to light.

The child was last seen at approximately 7:45 a.m., July 27, 1998, in her mother’s second-floor apartment at 175 S. Charles St., Strasburg, according to Northern Virginia Daily reports of the incident at the time and police information released Wednesday. The 2-month-old child was with her mother Sylena Jo Dalton at the time, according to information provided by the Virginia police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Culpeper Field Office.

A co-worker of the mother found 20-year-old Sylena Dalton at approximately 2:25 p.m. July 27, 1998, stabbed to death on a couch inside the residence. Allyson and several baby bottles were missing, authorities say. Investigators believe Sylena Dalton was killed between 9:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. that morning. Neighbors told police they heard neither screams nor disturbances at the apartment that morning. Investigators found no suspected murder weapon at the scene.

Police described Allyson Dalton at the time of her disappearance as a white female with brown hair and blue eyes, weighing 8 pounds with a length of 1 foot, 8 inches.

Baby photo of Allyson Dalton 1998 photo

Field office commander Capt. Gary Wilson has pointed out that the case poses challenges because it involves both a homicide and an infant abduction that left no trace. Police do believe the mother’s murderer also abducted the child. Authorities remain hopeful that someone feels safe enough now to come forward after almost 20 years to help police bring Sylena Dalton’s murderer and Allyson’s kidnapper to justice.

The child’s biological father, who police did not identify, has cooperated with investigators over the years. Police say the father did not live with the child and the mother at the time of the murder and abduction.

The Associated Press reported at the time of the incident that authorities searched the Warrenton home of Daniel E. Pompell. Court documents indicated that investigators found no sign of the baby at the residence. Papers filed at the time with the state Division of Child Support Enforcement listed Pompell, then 29, as the baby’s probable father, according to a search warrant filed in Fauquier County.

Pompell cooperated with authorities, who did not charge him with any crime related to the murder or disappearance.

Sylena Dalton’s mother, Angela Stover, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Pompell in Shenandoah County Circuit Court in July 2000. The court dismissed the lawsuit in August 2006.

Authorities ask that anyone with information about the mother’s murder, Allyson Dalton’s disappearance and/or recognizes the age-progression photo of what Allyson might look like now as a 19-year-old woman contact state police at 888-300-0156 or by dialing #77 on a cell phone, or by email at questions@vspvirginia.gov.