Cold case: Authorities charge inmate with 1982 murder of Nampa girl

Editor’s note: This story contains details of a crime against a child.

BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — After the wrong man spent 18 years on death row for the murder of a 9-year-old Nampa girl, police in Canyon County have charged a new suspect for the 1982 killing.

David Dalrymple, 64, was charged with first-degree murder and rape in connection with the 40-year-old death of Daralyn Johnson on Thursday, according to the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office. He was arraigned in Caldwell on Thursday morning, before returning to the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction. Dalrymple is serving a 20-year-to-life sentence for lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor under 16, according to a news release.

The investigation of Daralyn’s murder went cold for 20 years after the wrongfully convicted man, Charles Irvin Fain, was exonerated.

In 2018, a forensic technique developed at the lab of a Boise State University professor, Greg Hampikian, was used by a University of California, Santa Cruz, academic to analyze hairs that had been discovered during an autopsy of Daralyn, according to previous Idaho Statesman reporting. Those same hairs had been used to rule out Fain and overturn his conviction.

Using Hampikian’s genealogy strategy, the FBI was able to narrow its suspect search, eventually settling on Dalrymple.

In May 2020, the Santa Cruz professor concluded that a DNA sample taken from Dalrymple while in prison was identical to the hair found on Daralyn’s body. While a criminal complaint for the murder was filed in 2020, Canyon County authorities held off on proceeding with the case until COVID-19 restrictions had eased, spokesperson Joe Decker said.

Dalrymple has previously been convicted of kidnapping and sexual abuse of a child, and Canyon County authorities have said they believe he may have abused at least two other victims, although he has not been charged.

In 2004, Dalrymple was convicted of kidnapping and sexual abuse, according to court records. That same year, he was also convicted of second-degree kidnapping in a separate case. More than a decade earlier, in 1991, he was convicted of misdemeanor battery, according to court records.


In February 1982, 9-year-old Daralyn went missing while walking the six blocks from her home to Lincoln Elementary School in Nampa. Three days later, her body was found in a drainage ditch along the Snake River, and authorities determined she had been raped, assaulted and drowned.

In November 1983, Fain was convicted, and sentenced to death a few months later. For nearly two decades, Fain sat on death row, coming within four days of being executed in 1991 before U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor stayed the capital punishment, according to IDOC records previously provided to the Statesman.

In 1999, Fain filed a motion to conduct DNA testing on pubic hairs that had been found during Daralyn’s autopsy. Two years later, after three hairs found on Daralyn’s person were determined to not be Fain’s and to belong to the same unidentified person, Fain was exonerated. That August, he was released from the Idaho Maximum Security Institution.

In 2020, after the new forensic evaluation, the FBI narrowed its suspects to Dalrymple, who was living along Daralyn’s route to school in Nampa in 1982, according to previous Statesman reporting.

Despite his 2001 exoneration, Fain, 72, was not formally declared innocent by the state of Idaho until last June.

The Idaho Wrongful Conviction Act, which was signed into law by Gov. Brad Little last March, compensates people who serve time in Idaho prisons for crimes they did not commit. Exonerees receive $62,000 from the state for each year spent in prison.

“Mr. Fain was in a cell by himself 23 hours every day, pretty much isolation,” Rick Visser, the first legal director of the Idaho Innocence Project, told the Statesman in June. “One hour a day he could bathe or take a little bit of a walk.”

He added, “Just try and (imagine) taking an 18-year chunk out of your life,” Visser said. “Our legal system needs a lot of correcting.”

Dalrymple has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Jan. 25.

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