A woman, who was missing along with her three young children when authorities discovered the body of a man believed to be her husband in their Carlsbad home, was found Wednesday afternoon in Scripps Ranch and arrested on suspicion of homicide.
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Detectives located Julie Elizabeth Harper, 39, her daughter and two sons in the 11200 block of Lake Rim Road about 3 p.m., according to police. She was booked into the Vista Detention Facility on suspicion of first-degree murder. Harper is currently at the Las Colinas women's jail in Santee and is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday. Her children were taken into protective custody.
Officers conducting a welfare check shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday found the body of the man at the Harpers' home in a gated neighborhood on Badger Lane, east of Rancho Carlsbad Golf Course. Police described the death as an apparent homicide.
For the next 16 hours, law enforcement agencies throughout the San Diego area were on the lookout for Julie Harper and her children, 18-month-old Joshua, 6-year-old Jackie and Jake, 8.
Carlsbad police and the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office Thursday officially identified the victim as Julie Harper's husband, 39-year-old Jason Harper. On Wednesday evening, 10News spoke with Homer Harper, who confirmed that the man found dead was his son.
"He was just a great person. I just can't understand," said Homer Harper. "Certainly doesn't seem real ... keep hoping it's a bad dream."
10News learned Jason Harper was a geometry teacher at Carlsbad High School and previously coached girls volleyball at La Costa Canyon High School.
10News investigative producer Felicia Kit met Julie Harper in college at the University of Southern California and could not believe it when she learned that Harper was arrested in connection with her husband's death.
"When I first learned about this today, I was completely shocked," said Kit. "Julie is a good person from what I know of her and a really loving mother."
According to court records in the North County, Julie Harper filed for divorce from Jason Harper on Aug. 2. A court date was scheduled for Sept. 18.
In the documents, Julie Harper stated she was currently a stay-at-home mom and worked occasionally from home. She listed herself as a realtor from 2005 to 2007.
She also stated that her husband was frequently angry, had a difficult time controlling his anger and used profanity. She went on to say the "respondent has become violent with me by pushing me, shoving me, grabbing my arm and twisting my wrists."
Julie Harper also claimed in the divorce documents that her husband had completely cut her off financially.
In the documents, she also requests that the court grant her exclusive access to the home on Badger Lane and that Jason Harper be required to pay all fees associated with the property.
Homer Harper said he knew nothing of the divorce documents and that when he last spoke with his son Monday night, everything seemed fine.
Police initially said they were looking for two vehicles -- a 2008 gold Toyota Sienna minivan registered to Julie Harper with California license plate 6DAB157 and a white or silver Ford SUV registered to Jason Harper with a California license plate 6BVF096.
The Ford SUV was located Wednesday afternoon and towed out of the neighborhood.
On Wednesday morning, Carlsbad Unified School District Superintendent Suzette Lovely issued a statement stating that she received unconfirmed reports that an employee "may have been a victim in the incident."
"We are in close communication with the Carlsbad Police Department concerning a death in the community," said Lovely. "We are awaiting confirmation and further details from officials in law enforcement. As information becomes available, we will be sharing this with our staff and community."
When asked if he thought Julie Harper was capable of hurting his son, Homer Harper replied, "I didn't think so, but I don't know. There are a lot of people out there now doing crazy things, and I don't know why someone would do things like that."
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