Crime

Gov. Newsom offers $50,000 reward for info in Fresno County shooting that left 2 teens dead

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday announced $50,000 in reward money for information in a shooting that left two teenagers dead outside of Fresno.

Kayla DeBorde, 19, and William Harris, 17, were killed Jan. 29, 2016, when a brawl broke out and 35 shots were fired into a crowd at a birthday party at a home on Orange Avenue south of Adams Avenue, according to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities estimate as many as 300 people were at the party. The shooting happened around 11:40 p.m.

DeBorde was the mother to an 18-month-old girl. Harris’ family described him as an “outstanding young man” who was involved in his church. He was set to graduate high school that summer. Both attended Washington Union High in Easton, and the killings rocked the close-knit community.

More than 100 people gathered in a church in the town of less than 2,500 people to mourn their deaths days following the killings.

In 2016, Sheriff Margaret Mims said the slayings followed a combination of alcohol, firearms and a party widely shared on social media.

Despite the presence of many witnesses and pleas from family members, detectives haven’t cracked the case.

California law allows the governor, following a request from local law enforcement, to issue the $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in certain unsolved crimes.

In 2016, Valley Crime Stoppers announced a reward for information leading to an arrest in the double homicide. Thursday, Valley Crime Stoppers director Susan Blaze shared a statement clarifying that the two rewards are separate, saying: “Valley Crime Stoppers is not the steward of the government funds; therefore, we are not responsible through our anonymous tip program in paying out those rewards. It is also not clear if the government program protects the tipster from being identified, whereas anonymous tip information received by Valley Crime Stoppers is protected by state law.”

Blaze said Thursday that Crime Stoppers put up $2,000 reward money and a private donor added $1,000 to the reward. To report a tip to Crime Stoppers, call 559-498-STOP (7867) or go to valleycrimestoppers.org.

Anyone who wants to report a tip and be eligible for the governor’s reward is asked to call the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office at 559-600-8204.

Also Wednesday, Newsom offered a $50,000 reward in the 20-year-old cold case homicide of Teresa Madrigal, a 33-year-old woman shopping in Riverside County the day before her body was found by authorities 60 miles away in San Diego County.

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Reporter Thaddeus Miller has covered cities in the central San Joaquin Valley since 2010, writing about everything from breaking news to government and police accountability. A native of Fresno, he joined The Fresno Bee in 2019 after time in Merced and Los Banos.
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