Coroner confirms that body found in desert is slain San Diego Army veteran

Julia Jacobson and her dog Boogie

SAN DIEGO — A body found last week in a shallow grave in the Riverside County desert is that of a retired Army captain from San Diego allegedly murdered by her ex-husband, coroner’s officials confirmed Tuesday.

A cadaver dog led search personnel to the remains of 37-year-old Julia Jacobson in a remote area near Box Canyon Road in Cactus City late Friday morning.

Authorities have not disclosed Jacobson’s cause of death.

Alongside her body were canine remains believed to be those of her beloved wheaten terrier, Boogie, who went missing along with her over the Labor Day weekend.

Acting on information provided by Jacobson’s jailed former spouse, Dalen Larry Ware of Phoenix, Arizona, personnel from various Southern California law enforcement agencies scoured a six-square-mile expanse of rugged open territory south of Interstate 10 for several days before finding the crude gravesite, said Cpl. Fred Alvarez of the Ontario Police Department.

Ware, 39, was arrested in October on suspicion of killing Jacobson in San Bernardino County. Authorities have disclosed no suspected motive for the alleged slaying, though relatives have described the couple’s divorce as contentious.

Jacobson, a corporate real estate broker for 7-Eleven who deployed to Iraq twice during her military career, vanished after leaving her North Park home early on the morning of Sept. 2.

That evening, a friend received text messages from Jacobson’s cellphone stating that the ex-servicewoman was in the Palm Springs area and planned to continue on to Big Bear. Five days later, Jacobson’s company car was found abandoned a few blocks from her home with the keys in the ignition and the windows all partially rolled down.

After San Diego police determined that Jacobson had gone to Ontario on the day she disappeared, authorities in San Bernardino County took over the case.

A forensic analysis of Jacobson’s car and other evidence soon convinced detectives that she had been murdered, according to Ontario police Detective Melissa Ramirez. Officials have declined to reveal the nature of those findings.

Ware is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at Adelanto Detention Center in San Bernardino County. His next court date is scheduled for next month in Rancho Cucamonga.