There could be a 19-year-old girl out there who has no idea she was stolen from her home. Police in Virginia have released new images hoping to track down a kidnapper and a killer.
These are all that's left: a precious few faded snapshots of two lives upended by terror. Now authorities are releasing one more photo decades after the brutal crime. And it could be the key to finding a baby torn from her mother's dying arms.
"It's a very tiny little town, very small population," said Jenifer Parker.
Jenifer Parker tells Crime Watch Daily nothing bad ever happens in the tiny town of Strasburg, Virginia.
"There's not much crime, not really much of anything going on," said Jenifer. "Very quiet."
Quiet -- except for the terrible day of July 27, 1998 that nobody can forget.
"It's heartbreaking," said Jenifer. "And I just, I want it to come to an end."
Jenifer's childhood friend Sylena Dalton was funny, bright, always cheerful. And she was a nervous new mom. At the age of 20, Sylena already had her hands full with a newborn baby girl Allyson.
"She was scared, she was young, she was really nervous," said Jenifer. "Ally was colicky, so she was very tired, but she was happy about being a mom."
Allyson Dalton was born premature. At 10 weeks old she weighed 8 and a half pounds. The frail little girl was just starting to get her strength. Then, on a warm July morning, Sylena's mom kisses her daughter goodbye, not knowing it would be the last time.
It's around 12 noon when Sylena's friend Kelly Fesler gets a chilling phone call from a mutual acquaintance. The voice on the line is panicked.
"She told me that Sylena was on the couch and there was blood all over her," said Kelly Fesler.
Kelly races to Sylena's apartment, met at the front door by their friend, whose face is frozen in fear.
"At first I honestly thought they were playing a trick on me, but once I got up there, then I realized it wasn't," said Kelly.
Kelly finds Sylena stretched out on the couch, shrouded in a blanket.
"She was laying on the couch, and the blanket was up over her head, and I pulled the blanket back, and then after that it's pretty much a blur," said Kelly.
Kelly's mind reels at the sight of Sylena covered in blood, dead. What's blurred in Kelly's memory is spelled out in the autopsy.
The medical examiner's report details the gruesome horror of Sylena's final moments: Deep stab wounds to her chest piercing her heart, lungs, liver and stomach, with more cuts to her hands -- a clear sign that a terrified Sylena fought desperately for her life.
"She had been stabbed several times in the chest. We later found out it was five times," said private investigator Christopher Borba.
Her time of death was somewhere between 9:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
But before Kelly can even process the horror, she gets another immediate jolt of panic: Baby Allyson's crib is empty. The baby was missing. There's barely enough time to mourn Sylena's death. The small town launches a search for the missing 10-week-old girl. State troopers canvassed every inch of the highways in and out of Strasburg, even drawing the FBI into the search.
"They were getting off at every exit, every possible site that the child could be at, and search," said Virginia State Police Cold Case Agent Richard Hankins. "I mean, you name it, the type of search you can name, it's been done."
But sadly, the searches turn up nothing.
"It was sad, I mean Strasburg you know had never had murder like that," said Kelly Fesler. "It's not typical of the sleepy town that it was."
No sign of Baby Allyson, and little idea as to who would want Sylena dead. She had no enemies, but police do turn up one clue from an eagle-eyed neighbor who saw something odd that very morning.
"He heard a noise, looked out his window and saw a male putting a baby into the passenger side of a truck," said private investigator Chris Borba.
Police don't name any suspects, but people in Strasburg do have their suspicions.
"Everybody believes the same thing, which is what I believe as well, that the baby's father is guilty," Jenifer Parker tells Crime Watch Daily.
Daniel Pompell was Sylena's on-again/off-again boyfriend, 10 years older than Sylena.
"He was strange. I didn't like him. Didn't trust him," said Jenifer.
Sylena Dalton and Daniel Pompell didn't live together, but the local papers report that authorities "were called frequently to the apartment complex because of domestic fights."
"I think once she found out she was pregnant things took a downward spiral," said Jenifer.
Spiraling further with disagreements over custody and support. Adding to the drama was a paternity hearing reportedly scheduled on the day of Sylena's murder.
"The day before everything happened, she told my mom that she was gonna try to do things civilly. Keep Danny out of court, do things the right way. Try to keep everything calm," said Jenifer.
And Jenifer says Sylena wanted things calm for one simple reason.
"She was terrified. She was scared of Danny. She was scared that he would come after her," said Jenifer Parker.
Daniel Pompell has by all accounts cooperated with the investigation, answering all questions about Sylena Dalton and that awful day. And police have never named a suspect, or a person of interest.
But private investigator Chris Borba says there's a good reason Sylena's family is pointing the finger at her ex. Remember, authorities place Sylena's time of death somewhere between 9:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. And Danny?
"He has put himself there at the scene around 9 o'clock in the morning," said Chris Borba. "He told me."
New mom Sylena Dalton was found stabbed to death in her home, and the race is on to find her 10-week-old daughter who was ripped from her crib. Crime Watch Daily is in Virginia with all new details on that search.
Witnesses say they saw someone put the baby in the back of the car the day Sylena Dalton, 20, was stabbed to death. The question is, Where is the child today?
Sylena's best friend Jenifer Parker tells Crime Watch Daily that painful years of searching for answers and for Baby Allyson have now turned to decades.
"On the loose. Got away with it for 19 years. It's sickening," said Jenifer.
But what kind of sick mind could murder a mom and steal her baby? Suspicion around the small town of Strasburg has often centered on Sylena's ex-boyfriend Daniel Pompell.
Sylena's mother filed a wrongful death suit against Pompell in 2000, but it was dropped for lack of evidence. And a grand jury was convened in regards to Sylena's murder, but no charges were filed.
Police haven't named Daniel Pompell as a suspect or even a person of interest, and he denies he had anything to do with the crimes.
Despite Pompell's denials, private investigator Chris Borba still had some questions and knocked on Pompell's door to find out for himself. Borba says Pompell told him he was at that apartment at 9 a.m. the day of the murder.
"He said he knocked on the door, no one answered, so he left," said Borba.
If Pompell didn't do it, did he show any concern for his missing daughter?
"I said 'Well, do you think she's still alive?' And he looked down and said, kinda shrugged his shoulders, and said 'She could be,'" said Borba.
Pompell answers all the private investigator's questions -- but Borba wasn't buying it.
"He said he wanted to put it behind him and move on, but it's been my experience people want to prove they're innocent or make you think they're innocent," said Borba.
In fact, Pompell says he's the one who's been victimized. His family set up a Facebook page calling for "Justice For Daniel Pompell."
"I'm not sure what the justice for him would be besides a prison sentence," said Borba.
We tracked down Daniel Pompell's house. We tried calling him on the phone. He had not returned our phone calls. Pompell never answered the door. But he just recently did call one of our producers at Crime Watch Daily.
He told us he does not want to do an on-camera interview, but does want to clear his name once and for all.
"I did not kill her. I have no idea what happened to her. I was her friend and we had a good time together. I liked her. We were friends."
Pompell went on to say that he didn't know that Allyson was his child until after the DNA test came back. He said that if he knew Allyson was his child, he would have paid child support. He didn't kill her, telling our producer, "I am hoping they can find her." Pompell went on to say police are trying to destroy his alibi, and are wrecking his character.
Detectives are more than hoping that Baby Allyson is still alive. They're actively drumming up new leads.
"They made an age-enhanced photo of Allyson from a baby until what she would look like now," said Jenifer Parker.
Currently Allyson would be age 19 -- nearly the same age as her mom when she was murdered.
"If you think you're Allyson, you of course reach out to us," said Richard Hankins. "There's a pretty sure way we can tell, and that's through DNA testing."
Bringing Sylena's killer to justice and bringing Allyson home might help ease the pain of Sylena's mom, who now clings to faded photos of her daughter, the only reminders she has left of a huge part of her heart she lost so long ago.
"She's absolutely devastated, and I can't imagine her pain, never being able to look into your daughter's eyes again, and your granddaughter. In the same day you lost both of them," said Jenifer Parker. "I can't imagine that."
If you recognize Allyson Dalton, or if you have any information about Sylena Dalton's murder, call Virginia State Police at (888) 300-0156 toll-free 24 hours a day, or submit a tip anonymously to Crime Watch Daily.