California: The Fresno Bee, Wednesday, May 16, 2001

Fresno woman is arrested in fraud related to 1997 murder

By Charles Mcarthy
The Fresno Bee

MADERA—A Fresno woman was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of insurance fraud related to the July 1997 murder of 20-year-old Andrea Born, state investigators and Madera County Sheriff John Anderson said.

The body of Born, a California State University, Fresno, student, was found July 4, 1997, by California Highway Patrol officers investigating a burning object in a Madera County orchard near Freeway 99 and Avenue 7.

Tracy Ann Tavares, 26, was arrested Tuesday in Fresno by Madera County sheriff's detectives and California Bureau of Investigation agents. Investigators said that four days after the victim's body was found, Tavares reported her 1995 Nissan Altima stolen.

Investigators also identified Tavares as the current girlfriend of Jacob Lee Travis, 31, who is in Madera County Jail awaiting a June 14 court appearance.

Travis was arrested earlier this year on suspicion of fatally shooting Born before the victim's body was taken to the orchard.

"We know that the night Born was killed she attended a Fourth of July party in Fresno in the company of Jacob Lee Travis and another male," Anderson said.Anderson said he didn't know the other male's name; investigators questioned but didn't arrest him.

Tavares and Travis were together July 8, 1997, when Tavares' vehicle was reported stolen.

That vehicle was used during the course of the murder of Andrea Born, investigators reported.

Anderson said Tuesday that Los Angeles Sheriff's Department deputies called Madera County investigators a month after the car was reported stolen. The car had been found in a garage in Lancaster.

The residence where the car was found was occupied by the mother of the unnamed man.

Investigators found evidence in the car "which tied it to the murder," Anderson said.

Since the crime involved multiple jurisdictions, in 1999 state investigators joined Madera County officers in the investigation.

The reporter can be reached at or 675-6804.

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