California: Santa Cruz County Sentinel, Wednesday, July 23, 1997

Brookdale woman's killing still a mystery

By Robert Gammon
Sentinel staff writer

Nearly three weeks after a 20-year-old woman who grew up in the San Lorenzo Valley was found murdered near Fresno, authorities said Tuesday that they still have no suspects.

"It could be a tough case to solve," said Madera County Undersheriff Tom Turk.

Andrea "Annie" Born, who graduated from San Lorenzo Valley High School in 1994, was shot to death on the Fourth of July and her body set on fire in an orchard just north of Fresno.

Her mother, Gloria Barnes of Brookdale, said Tuesday the frustration of not knowing who killed her daughter is overwhelming.

"The anxiety is just horrendous. I wish we knew what happened. Maybe we never will," said Barnes, who is a clerk in Santa Cruz County Superior Court.

Born was last seen sometime after 5 p.m. at an Independence Day barbacue at her ex-boyfriend’s sister’s house in Fresno. Barnes said her only daughter may have had plans to go to Bass Lake, about an hour and a half northeast of Fresno, for a fireworks display.

At 11:43 p.m., California Highway Patrol officers saw flames in a southern Madera County orchard near Highway 99, about an hour away from Bass Lake. The flames were coming from Born’s corpse, which had been doused with fuel and set ablaze.

Investigators believe Born had been fatally shot in another location and her body taken to the orchard. Autopsy and ballistics results showed that the murder weapon was a .25-caliber handgun, Turk said. Born’s purse with her credit cards, keys and paychecks remain missing.

Detectives found footprints near the body, but they have been unable to match them to a suspect. Investigators also seized a car from an unnamed location, said Turk, who refused to reveal the car’s owner, saying only that agents from the state Department of Justice were examining the vehicle for evidence.

Born had moved to the Central Valley in the fall of 1994 to attend Fresno State University, where she was a liberal arts major. She also worked at a Fresno grocery store.

Barnes, who used to work for the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office, is taking time off from her job as appeals clerk. She said she may travel to the East Coast for a while.

"There’s nothing I can do here, really," she said.

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