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Homicide? - Body Found
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The grisly discovery of human remains in a cornfield outside of Escalon on Saturday has become the next piece in a puzzle facing authorities.

Stockton Police Department Public Information Officer Pete Smith said Monday afternoon that the remains were positively identified as those of Dalene Carlson, 23, who was last seen in Stockton outside a bar in early August.

"She has been missing, out of Stockton, since Aug. 7 and she was identified through dental records," Smith explained. "A farmer found her, the body was in an advanced state of decomposition."

But the size of the body and the rate of decomposition fit with details of Carlson's disappearance and authorities were fairly certain the remains were hers.

"We just got the confirmation a few hours ago," Smith said late Monday afternoon. "It is an active investigation, we have several persons of interest in the case."

Smith said authorities are treating it like a homicide and are asking that anyone who may have seen suspicious activity in that area - the cornfield was near Lone Tree and Sexton roads, northwest of Escalon - since early August to contact police with the information. Even the most seemingly mundane details could turn out to be important, said Smith.

"If anyone saw anything on or around that time (Aug. 7) or since, call the Stockton Police Department non-emergency number," he said.

The number is 937-8377.

Police had been in and around the rural Escalon area previously with cadaver dogs but had turned up nothing in prior searches. The call from the farmer finding the remains in the field came in about noontime on Saturday in the field west of Escalon-Bellota Road. He initially contacted the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department, which in turn brought in Stockton Police.

Smith added that Carlson had only lived in the Stockton area briefly, moving there from Idaho. Friends last reported seeing her at Finnegan's Pub and Grill in Stockton on Aug. 7.