California: Santa Cruz County Sentinel, Thursday, July 10, 1997

Bereaved mother tries to fathom daughter's death

By Robert Gammon
Sentinel staff writer

BROOKDALE—Bold, hand-drawn arrows encircle a "21" on her mother’s calendar. But Andrea "Annie" Born will not make it to her 21st birthday next Tuesday.

Instead, there will be a memorial service that day for the young woman who was shot to death on Independence Day in a remote field near Fresno.

"Why Annie? Why her?" asked Born’s mother, Gloria Barnes, in her Brookdale home Wednesday.

Born was last seen at about 9:30 p.m. Friday at her Fresno apartment by a woman friend, said Madera County Undersheriff Tom Turk.

According to Barnes, the friend said she saw Born leaving with her ex-boyfriend, who has a history of physically abusing Born.

However, the Madera County Sheriff’s Office refused to comment Wednesday on Born’s ex-boyfriend from Fresno, saying they have no official suspects in the murder case.

Investigators believe that Born was shot in the head with a handgun at an unknown location, Turk said. Then the killer or killers took Born’s body to an orchard just north of Fresno, doused the corpse with fuel and set it on fire.

California Highway Patrol officers noticed the flames not far from Highway 99, thinking the orchard was on fire. Turk said much of Born’s body was burned.

There was no evidence of sexual assault, but it would be hard to tell because of the fire, he added. The Madera County coroner needed dental records to identify the corpse.

Barnes and one of her daughter’s friends, Shannon Kerr, 19, of Ben Lomond, were astonished at the cruelty of the murder.

"I just can’t believe how evil people can be," Barnes said.

"It’s totally unreal. It’s so hard for me to believe it happened. It makes me sick," said Kerr, who had known Born for about 15 years.

When they were younger, Kerr and Born co-starred in productions of "Peter Pan" and "Once Upon a Mattress" at Mountain Community Theater in Ben Lomond. Both graduated from San Lorenzo Valley High School, Born in 1994 and Kerr in 1996.

"She was just such a sweet girl, and she was a good friend and a happy person," Kerr said.

Born had moved to the Central Valley in the fall of 1994 to attend Fresno State University, where she became a liberal arts major, Barnes said. Born also worked at a Food for Less store in Fresno.

Barnes said that when she and the rest of her family visited the store earlier this week, "every single employee hugged us and cried with us."

Turk said the bullet that killed Born was sent to the state Department of Justice for identification, along wth a sample of the fuel used to set the fire.

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