California: The Fresno Bee, Wednesday, September 29, 1999

Billboard's appeal brings two tips in 2-year-old Madera murder case

$50,000 reward is offered to find Andrea Mercedes Born's killers.

By Charles Mcarthy
The Fresno Bee

(Published September 29, 1999)

MADERA—Madera County sheriff's detectives received two phone tips Tuesday morning in the 1997 case of a Clovis woman found murdered and burned in an orchard just off Freeway 99.

Sheriff John Anderson said the tips were the first information his detectives have received since a billboard offering $50,000 in the unsolved murder of Andrea Mercedes Born, 20, was posted this month next to the northbound lanes of Freeway 99 north of Clinton Avenue in Fresno.

The reward money approved by Gov. Davis is for information leading Madera County officers to whoever shot Born in the head the night of July 4, 1997. Her body was dumped in an orchard near Freeway 99 and Avenue 7, then set ablaze.

Anderson said the body was "totally consumed" by the fire, making it difficult for investigators to collect evidence.


That's why Born's mother, Gloria Barnes of Santa Cruz, joined Anderson, officers from Madera and Fresno counties, and a representative from Davis' office Tuesday afternoon at the billboard in a public appeal for information.

"More awareness is what we need," Barnes said. "Someone out there knows something."

Gary Winuk of Sacramento, representing Davis, said the governor hoped the $50,000 might "pry loose" people who know something about the 2-year-old murder case.

It's not the first criminal case award Davis has offered since taking office this year, but Winuk said it's the first reward he knew of to be advertised on a billboard.

Detectives believe Born was killed in Fresno before her body was dumped in the Madera County orchard. She was last seen at her Clovis apartment near Ashlan and Peach avenues.

Madera detectives checked "a couple of suspects," Anderson said, but there wasn't enough evidence to make arrests.

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