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Ariz. Man Suspected of Murdering Military Veteran Ex-Wife Who Has Been Missing Since September

An Arizona man has been accused of killing his ex-wife, a military veteran who has not been seen since September, PEOPLE confirms.

Dalen Larry Ware, of Laveen, was taken into custody Friday on suspicion of murder after his ex-wife, Julia Jacobson, was reported missing last month, according to an Ontario, California, Police Department news release obtained by PEOPLE.

Jacobson and her dog, Boogie, have not been found, but authorities say they believe she died a “violent” death, Detective Melissa Ramirez of the Ontario Police Department tells PEOPLE.

The 37-year-old was last seen and heard from on Sept. 2, the day she was reported missing, when she sent a text to a friend saying she was in Palm Springs and later caught on CCTV footage leaving a 7-Eleven in Ontario at about 8 p.m.

Less than a week after her disappearance, Jacobson’s car was found abandoned near her home. Evidence collected from the car confirmed that the San Diego resident had been killed, Ramirez says.

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It is still unclear what happened in the days surrounding Jacobson’s death. While her car was found a few blocks from her home, Jacobson was last seen about 100 miles away at the 7-Eleven in Ontario, Ramirez tells PEOPLE.

“Right now, there’s a whole lot of piecing things together,” Ramirez says of the investigation. “We have strong evidence but we only have components of the ‘what happened,’ not the ‘how.’”

According to her family, Jacobson, a retired army captain who served overseas, had recently accepted a job in Austin, Texas, and was looking forward to the new opportunity.

“It was going to be a new chapter for her,” her sister told NBC. “She joined ROTC and right out of college, she was stationed in Europe. She went to Bosnia and did two tours in Iraq. Then she had been with 7-Eleven for a number of years and had moved around the country to work for them.”

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Ramirez tells PEOPLE Jacobson and Ware divorced in 2015 and from the beginning, Ware was on investigator’s radar. Speaking to NBC, Jacobson’s family described their relationship as “tumultuous.”

“They remained in contact they must have still had some sort of amicable relationship,” Ramirez says. “But obviously something took a dramatic turn on Sept. 2.”

On Friday, Ware was taken into custody by local and federal officials at his home in Laveen. He will be transferred to San Bernardino County West Valley Detention Center within the week, according to Ramirez. It is unclear at this time whether he has an attorney.

Ramirez says authorities are now looking for Jacobson’s body in both California and Arizona.

“We’re open to anywhere at this point,” Ramirez says. “We were hoping it would be under incredibly different circumstances but we want to bring her home.”

On Monday, Jacobson’s family released a statement thanking law enforcement for their work and the community for its support.

“Words cannot express the pain and anguish our family has endured since our beloved sister and daughter Julia Jacobson went missing. It is truly incredible the way Julia’s family, friends, co-workers, employer and complete strangers have come together. We cannot overstate our sincere appreciation for all of those who have provided their prayers, support and resource,” the family wrote on a Facebook page dedicated to Jacobson.

The continued: “The loss of Julia is beyond words. There will be no more birthday parties, backyard gatherings, holiday celebrations or other family activities to share. The laughter, hugs, guidance and our sense of security are forever gone and our family’s hearts will be forever broken.”

A GoFundMe page has been started to help Jacobson’s family with traveling and funeral expenses.

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Ariz. Woman Sentenced to Die for Her Role in Locking Girl, 10, in 3-Foot-Long Container

An Arizona woman was sentenced to death on Monday for her role in the 2011 murder of her 10-year-old cousin, who suffocated after she was padlocked overnight in a small plastic storage container in the sweltering heat, PEOPLE confirms.

With the jury’s decision, 29-year-old Sammantha Allen becomes the third woman on Arizona’s death row.

She was found guilty of first-degree murder and four counts of child abuse on June 26 in the killing of Ame Deal — who, authorities reportedly said, was forced to exercise in triple-digit summer temperatures and then locked in a 32-inch-long plastic box overnight, likely as punishment because she stole an ice pop.

Ame died from suffocation after being left in the box for six or seven hours.

“Lack of remorse was the biggest thing that played into it for us — that we didn’t see that from Sammantha throughout the whole process,” said juror Anne Schaad, according to the Associated Press and CBS News.

Allen’s defense attorney could not be reached for comment by PEOPLE.

“I want to thank the members of the jury for their time and effort on this case and reaching a difficult, but just conclusion for the senseless murder of Ame,” Maricopa County, Arizona, Attorney Bill Montgomery said in a statement.


The case came to light on July 12, 2011, when police were called to Ame’s home in Phoenix and found her dead inside a plastic storage box. Family members initially said that she liked to hide in the box and must have fallen asleep, according to prosecutors.

Under questioning, Allen told police she knew the girl had been left in the container, the Arizona Republic reports. “There never was intention on killing her,” she said. But she said that her husband, John Allen, “said he was going to get her out.”

In video of her questioning shown at at her trial, however, Sammantha told a detective that she knew Ame was still in the container when she went to sleep, according to the Republic.

Authorities believe Sammantha and John were responsible for forcing Ame into the box and had fallen asleep without letting her out.

Before she was padlocked inside the box, John allegedly forced Ame to do back-bends for two hours and run around the yard despite the searing 103-degree temperature, the Republic reports.

Authorities said Ame was routinely locked inside the plastic box and abused by her caretakers. In one instance, the young girl was forced to eat dog feces and had it rubbed in her face after she failed to pick up a dog’s dropping, according to the Republic.

She was also allegedly made to crush aluminum cans barefoot, eat hot sauce and had been kicked in the face, beaten with a paddle and tossed into a cold swimming pool, according to the AP and CBS News.

Sammantha was sentenced to 76 years for four counts of child abuse, on top of her death sentence.

The AP reported that authorities had found Ame was a unique target of scorn in her family.

“Several forensic interviews were conducted on relative children,” investigators wrote in court records obtained by the news outlet. “The common theme is, Ame is bad, Ame lies, Ame steals, Ame is not allowed to play.”

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Ame’s father, David, was sentenced in June 2013 to 14 years in prison for attempted child-abuse for his role in Ame’s torment.

Her grandmother, Judith, was sentenced in September 2013 to 10 years in prison and lifetime probation after pleading guilty to two counts of attempted child abuse.

Cynthia Stoltzmann, who was Ame’s legal guardian and aunt, was sentenced to 24 years in prison and lifetime probation in September 2013 after pleading guilty to two counts of child abuse and one count of attempted child abuse.

John Allen, who is also charged with murder and child abuse, is scheduled to go to trial on Oct 9. He has pleaded not guilty. A message left with his attorney was not returned.

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