San Diego

Coroner Identifies Remains of Missing Retired Army Veteran Found in Southern California Desert

Retired Army Captain Julia Jacobson was last seen alive on Sept. 2 in San Diego and Ontario, California

The Riverside County Coroner has identified the remains of a missing military veteran found last week in a shallow grave in a Southern California desert.

A report released Tuesday confirms the remains are those of San Diego resident Julia Jacobson, 37. Her body was found Friday in a remote area near Cactus City, California, along with the remains of her dog.

Jacobson had been missing since Labor Day weekend. She was last seen on Sept. 2 inside her company car at the corporate offices of 7-Eleven on Aero Drive in Kearny Mesa.


That night, at around 9:30 p.m., she sent a text message to a friend saying she was traveling from Big Bear, California, to Palm Springs, California, with another friend, according to investigators with the San Diego Police Department (SDPD). Julia’s actual location when that message was sent is unknown.

Hours later, a store surveillance camera captured Jacobson in Ontario, California, about 120 miles north of San Diego County. She was accompanied by her dog, Boogie, police said.

On Sept. 7, Jacobson's car was found abandoned on Monroe Avenue east of Texas Street in San Diego's University Heights area. This location was about a half-mile away from Jacobson's home. Her family told NBC 7 the car was found with its windows rolled down, at different levels, and the keys still in the ignition. Jacobson’s black purse was found inside, unzipped and with hardly anything in it.

Evidence found in the car led detectives to believe she may have been killed. Police did not release details about what led to their suspicions.


On Oct. 16, homicide investigators confirmed they had arrested Dalen Larry Ware, 39, Jacobson's ex-husband, in Laveen, Arizona, in connection with her disappearance and death. At his Nov. 6 arraignment, Ware pleaded not guilty to one charge of murder.

The Ontario Police Department (OPD) said information gathered during their investigation led authorities to search a 6-square-mile area in Cactus City. The area is in unincorporated Riverside County, south of Interstate 10 and east of a rest area. 

Last week, more than 120 investigators from four agencies -- the OPD, SDPD, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, and the Riverside County Sheriff's Department -- searched the area.

Finally, the missing woman's remains were found.

Details on Jacobson's cause and manner of death have not yet been released.

According to Justice for Julia, a Facebook page created by Jacobson's loved ones, her remains and those of her beloved dog will be cremated and returned to her home state of North Dakota.

"We'll never understand why or how someone could take their sweet lives," a message posted to the social media page Tuesday read.


Meanwhile, according to jail booking records, Ware is being held on a bail of $1 million at the Adelanto Detention Center in San Bernardino County. His next court appearance is set for Jan. 22, 2018.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information on Jacobson's case can call the Ontario Police Department at (909) 986-6711, Detective Ruben Espinoza at (909) 395-2894 or Detective Brant Devey at (909) 395-2715.

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