BREAKING: Caldwell man arrested as suspect in the 1996 rape, murder of Angie Dodge

Police on Wednesday night arrested Brian Leigh Dripps Sr. on a warrant for first-degree murder in perpetration of a rape, in connection with the 1996 killing of Idaho Falls resident Angie Dodge.

Dripps, 53, was booked into the Canyon County jail around 6:45 p.m., and at 9 p.m., the Idaho Falls Police Department announced that it had a new development in the Dodge case.

[Related: DNA family tree leads to new suspect in Dodge case — and a confession]

Canyon County Magistrate Judge David Eames presided over Dripps’ initial hearing at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Dripps also faces a rape charge. He will be transported to Bonneville County and held without bail.

Defense attorney Josh Taylor requested in court that Eames listen to a bond argument, because Dripps has medical problems and needs pain management that he was unsure the jail could handle.

Eames denied the request and did not hear Taylor’s argument for bond, stating it was Bonneville County’s case.

Dodge was stabbed to death and her throat was slit after she was raped in her Idaho Falls apartment in June 1996.

If convicted, Dripps could face up to life in prison or the death penalty.

Brian Dripps.JPG
Brian Dripps Canyon County Sheriff's Office

Angie Dodge’s ongoing case in Bonneville County

The unsolved murder of 18-year-old Angie Raye Dodge has been an ongoing case in Bonneville County for decades, even after police arrested Christopher Tapp.

Defense attorneys claim that Idaho Falls Police detectives coerced a confession from Tapp, whose DNA never matched the DNA found at the scene of Dodge’s killing. Tapp spent 20 years in prison before he was freed with the help of the Idaho Innocence Project.

After several appeals, an agreement was reached in which Tapp’s conviction for aiding and abetting murder would stay on his record, but his conviction for aiding and abetting rape would be dropped, and he would be released from prison. Dodge’s family members have publicly said that they do not believe Tapp is responsible for her death.

Who is Brian Dripps Sr.?

Dripps, of Caldwell, has no major criminal history in Idaho. He has a misdemeanor conviction for drug possession in 2002 in Adams County and several driving infractions. In 1989, he was convicted of driving under the influence in Canyon County. In 1991, he was convicted of another DUI in Canyon County. In 1996, the same year Dodge was killed, Dripps’ then-wife, Nycole Sept, filed for divorce in Bonneville County. The divorce didn’t finalize until 1999.

They have three children together. When the Idaho Statesman reached out to Sept on Thursday morning, she was unaware of Dripps’ arrest.

“I had two more children with him after he murdered her?” she said after she had been told that Dripps had been charged as a suspect in connection with the 1996 killing.

Sept confirmed that Dripps was living in Idaho Falls in 1996, the same year she was pregnant with her first child and tried to leave him. She said she left him because he was using drugs and acknowledged that they both were drug users, but said that he was violent.

“I was afraid of him, especially when he was doing drugs,” Sept said.

Sept and Dripps got back together after the birth of their first child. They moved to California, had two more children, and then moved back to Caldwell, where she says Dripps’ mother lived.

Sept lost custody of her children when they divorced and said she hasn’t spoken to Dripps in 17 years. Sept lives in Dyer, Nevada, with her current husband.

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Reporter Ruth Brown covers the criminal justice and correctional systems in Idaho. She focuses on breaking news, public safety and social justice. Prior to coming to the Idaho Statesman, she was a reporter at the Idaho Press-Tribune, the Bakersfield Californian and the Idaho Falls Post Register.