IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) – Idaho Falls Police announced Thursday they have charged Bryan Leigh Dripps in connection with the 1996 murder of Angie Dodge.
Dripps, 53, of Caldwell, Idaho was connected to the crime through genetic research. Chief Bryce Johnson said Dripps has since confessed to his part in the crime.
Johnson said the case was resolved through genetic investigation that led to someone in Dripps family tree. Police recovered a slug of tobacco after hours of surveillance of both the relative and then Dripps himself. Police in Caldwell found a cigarette butt discarded by Dripps.
The Idaho State Lab and State Police were able to confirm that Dripps was the person who left DNA evidence at the scene of the murder.
Dripps was arrested in Caldwell Tuesday by Idaho Falls Police detectives in Caldwell. He was taken to the police department there and ultimately confessed to the crime.
He is now charged with the murder and rape of Angie Dodge.
Police said it did not appear that Dripps knew Dodge in any more than a casual way.
Genetic genealogist Cece Moore said it was difficult to trace a very old DNA sample. It was compared to Dripps; family through common ancestors on a genealogy website. She found three people who were directly related to the suspect and were ultimately able to identify him as a common relative.
Christopher Tapp and Carol Dodge were both on hand for a Thursday afternoon news conference announcing the break in the case.
Dripps was being held in the Canyon County Jail.