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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