Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Carlsbad, CA: WIFE ARRESTED IN HUSBAND’S DEATH: Suspect filed for divorce last week claiming victim was violent toward her; 3 children found at her fa

CARLSBAD — A Carlsbad woman suspected of killing her husband then fleeing their home with the couple’s three young children was arrested Wednesday afternoon following a daylong search by police.

Investigators arrested Julie Elizabeth Harper, 39, a former real estate broker, at her father’s Scripps Ranch home about 3 p.m., Carlsbad police Lt. Kelly Cain said.

She was booked into Vista jail on suspicion of homicide in the slaying of Jason Harper, 39, a Carlsbad High School teacher. Her arraignment is scheduled for Friday.

The couple’s sons, ages 8 and 18 months, and daughter, age 6, were found safe at their grandfather’s house, Cain said.

He said Julie Harper’s attorney arranged her surrender. Child Protective Services took custody of the children.

Harper filed for divorce on Aug. 2, saying in court papers that her husband was violent toward her at times, yelled and used vulgar profanities, creating an “uncomfortable” home environment.

The papers say the couple had been married for 10 years and nine months, and that one of their children has special needs.

Officers were called about 11 p.m. Tuesday to check on the welfare of someone in the house on Badger Lane, north of El Camino Real off Sunny Creek Road. Cain said police found a slain man in the home.

He declined to describe the circumstances of the death, except that the body was found upstairs.

Cain said the house was cluttered and a lot of items were in boxes. He said there was no evidence of a break-in.

Police issued a bulletin to other law enforcement agencies to look for Julie Harper, her Toyota minivan and Jason Harper’s Ford SUV. His SUV was found in the neighborhood about 12:20 p.m. Her 2000 gold Sienna, with California license 6DAB157, had still not been found, police Lt. Paul Mendes said Wednesday night.

Jason Harper’s father, Homer Harper, said Carlsbad police called him at 2 a.m. and told him they were investigating a death at the Badger Lane home.

The father said authorities at that time told him they had not yet identified the body.

“They didn’t know a whole lot,” he said. “We’re just devastated. He was a great person.”

Jason Harper taught geometry at Carlsbad High and previously coached girls’ volleyball at La Costa Canyon High School.

Katie Tomkinson, 20, said Harper was her teacher when she was a freshman at Carlsbad High and she loved his class.

“He was just a great teacher,” Tomkinson said. “I feel so bad for the whole family. It’s an awful situation.”

She said she would see him in the neighborhood walking dogs and pushing a child’s stroller with his wife, and it seemed that they got along.

Public records show Julie Harper was issued a California real estate license in 2004 and that it expired in May.

On a website for Harper Realty, she described herself as “a highly motivated individual” and having a “great deal” of experience in marketing, sales and customer service. She said she holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Southern California, and earned a master’s in business administration, with an emphasis in finance, from California State University Long Beach in 1996.

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