REDDING: Three arrested after missing Riverside man’s charred remains found in burned vehicle

REDDING — Authorities arrested three Redding residents Thursday, Oct 26, after investigators found the charred remains of a missing, “at-risk,” Riverside man inside a burned-out vehicle in eastern Shasta County. The victim’s family had reported the man missing Oct. 20, and from the beginning of the investigation officials considered his disappearance as suspicious in nature.

SEE RELATED: Officials seek help in search for missing “at-risk” Riverside man

Redding PD officials located the charred remains of a man they believe are those of David Borders. Investigators later learned Borders was shot during an illegal drug transaction and their investigation eventually led to the arrest of three Redding residents. Redding PD photo

The Redding Police Department began the missing person’s investigation into the disappearance of David Allen Borders, 47, of Riverside, after his family reported his disappearance Oct. 21, according to Redding Police Sgt. Jon Poletski.

Borders was last seen about 1:30 a.m., at the Valero gas station on South Bonnyview Road in Redding the previous morning.

During their investigation, officials “worked day and night” investigating this case, according to Poletski.

As their investigation continued, officials met with Borders’ family and learned that the morning of his disappearance the missing man had met with two Redding residents at the gas station “to conduct an illegal sale of marijuana,” said Poletski.

Poletski did not specify the amount of marijuana Borders had been trying to purchase.

As their investigation continued, officials developed leads and gathered information that led them to eastern Shasta County where they found a burned-out Toyota Camry.

Officials did not specify the exact location where the burned car was found or what led them to the vehicle’s location.

When officials found the burned Toyota, they found the charred and unrecognizable  remains of a person inside it. Officials determined the car belonged to Jesse Tern, 34, and Rachel Lee Rowe, 28. Both are Redding residents.

Investigators, Redding Fire and Cal Fire officials determined the fire had been purposely set and that the subject in the vehicle was the victim of a homicide, Poletski explained.

“Although the remains in the vehicle have not been positively identified as Borders, Redding Police Investigators believe the remains are those of Borders,” said Borders.

Based on their investigation, on Oct. 26 Redding PD’s SWAT team served search and arrest warrants for Rowe and Tern on the 1400 block of Murieta Loop in Redding where they located and apprehended both subjects.

The couple was arrested without incident, according to Poletski.

After their arrests, investigators transported the pair to Redding Police Department’s Investigation’s Division where they were interviewed regarding the burned body found inside their car.

While questioning Tern, he reportedly admitted to investigators that the day of Borders’ early morning disappearance, he and Rowe met with the missing man at the Valero gas station to conduct a drug transaction.

Tern also eventually admitted to investigators that during the transaction he and Rowe were driving in the couple’s Toyota on Arizona Street in Redding – with Borders in the back seat – “when an argument over the marijuana drug deal began,” Poletski explained.

“During the argument Tern shot Borders while he was seated in the back seat of Rowe and Tern’s vehicle,” said Poletski.

Officials did not specify the exact details or circumstances that led to the argument or Borders’ fatal shooting.

Investigators learned that after shooting Borders, Tern and Rowe enlisted the assistance of Julio Chaves Morales, 41, also of Redding, in transporting the Toyota with Borders’ lifeless body inside it to eastern Shasta County.

In their attempt to conceal the deadly shooting, the three “attempted to burn the vehicle and the body of Borders,” said Poletski.

After officials located Morales, he admitted during an interview with investigators that he helped Tern and Rowe with transporting their Toyota to the eastern Shasta County location where he helped set fire to the vehicle with Borders’ body inside it.

Tern and Rowe were eventually booked into the Shasta County Jail in Redding on suspicion of murder. Based on his involvement, Morales was arrested and booked into the Shasta County Jail for arson, conspiracy, and accessory to murder.

An online jail records search revealed both Rowe and Morales remain in custody; Rowe on $1 million and Morales on $50,000 bail. No information regarding Tern could be located.

Investigators are still working with the Shasta County Coroners officer to positively identify the remains believed to be Borders’.

Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to contact the Redding Police Department at (530)225-4214. Callers can refer to incident file number 17-77864 and can remain anonymous.


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Trevor Montgomery, who recently moved from Riverside County to Shasta County, runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 14 grandchildren.