Editor’s note: This story was first published Nov. 26, 1989.
Mount Baker High School graduate Amanda T. “Mandy” Stavik, 18, is missing and presumed kidnapped. She disappeared Friday night while jogging near her mother’s Strand Road home.
Dozens of searchers worked Friday night and all day Saturday, combining the woodsy rural area to no avail, after Mandy’s mother, Mary Stavik, reported that her daughter had failed to return home after jogging.
The family’s 6-year-old German shepherd, Kyra, who had been running with Mandy, came back alone, wet and muddy, at about 5:30 p.m. Friday. The two had left more than three hours earlier.
Mandy Stavik was last seen wearing a light-colored sweat shirt, dark teal green sweat pants, new blue running shoes with purple stripe, a gold watch, silver hoop earrings and a Walkman radio. She was described as 5-feet, 8-inches tall, 130 pounds, with shoulder-length curly blonde hair and brown eyes.
As Mary Stavik, 52, waited anxiously Saturday afternoon beside the phone for word of her daughter, she issued a plea to the community:
“Look for her.”
Anyone with information about Mandy Stavik’s whereabouts may call the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, 360-384-5390 or 360-676-6711.
Sherrif Larry Mount upgraded the search from “missing person” to an all-out criminal investigation of a “presumed abduction” late Saturday afternoon, after bloodhounds were unable to pick up any trace of the young woman.
Mandy, an honors student, athletic star and cheerleader who graduated from Mount Baker High School in June, disappeared while jogging less than a quarter mile from her mother’s home, 3260 Strand Road, in the Clipper township outside Acme, about 12 miles east of Bellingham.
A freshman at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Stavik was home for the Thanksgiving holiday.
A Jeep Cherokee or similar four-wheel drive vehicle, white with black trim around the windows, was seen in the area by residents at about the time Stavik disappeared. The occupants were a woman and two teenagers; the vehicle was unfamiliar to neighbors.
Law enforcement officers hope the owners of the vehicle will contact them, Mount said.
Meanwhile, Mount said Whatcom County Search and Rescue and other volunteers would continue to search in a four-mile radius around her home, and farther south along the South Fork valley of the Nooksack River.
Among those who joined the search Saturday are:
▪ Whatcom County Search and Rescue.
▪ A mounted Whatcom County sheriff’s posse.
▪ A U.S. Custom’s airplane.
▪ Concerned neighbors.
▪ U.S. Border Patrol special agent Joel Hardin.
▪ Two bloodhounds and their trainers.
▪ Whatcom County 4-by4-’s.
▪ Glacier Helicopter Inc. co-owner Andrew McMurry, whose daughter, Heather, is one of Stavik’s high school friends.
“I don’t think there’s any (track) wide enough to take a horse into that hasn’t been checked,” said Deputy Tim Ortner at about 2:30 Saturday afternoon. Ortner directed the search from an impromptu command post set up in the Acme Fire Hall on Highway 9.
Ortner and Hardin, a professional tracker, grimly compared notes late Saturday afternoon – and came up with scant results to guide them.
“We’re just really a bit baffled,” Hardin said.
Stavik was last seen at about 3 p.m. Friday, by her brother, Lee, 13, who told deputies that he was at a neighbor’s house when he saw his sister jogging toward home, a few hundred yards away. Lee left the neighbor’s house about 15 minutes later, Mary Stavik said, but saw no sign of his sister.
When he got back to the house, he and his mother began to get worried. Mary Stavik said her daughter was planning to go to a movie in Bellingham that evening with her college roommate, Yoko Uchiyama. Uchiyama, a foreign exchange student from Japan, was spending the holiday with the Staviks.
At 4:30, Mary and Lee Stavik went out looking in the family car. When they returned, the dog was back, and there was no sign of Mandy.
Hardin, who said he repeatedly searched the stretch of road where she disappeared, said there was no sign that she had left the road, so he suspects she got into a vehicle.
The search began in darkness, around 9:45 p.m., less than two hours after Deputy Vincent Orduna, responding to Mary Stavik’s call to 911 emergency dispatch, arrived at the Stavik home to take a report.
Mount said the Sheriff’s Office began to search immediately because of the suspicious circumstances surrounding the disappearance. Usually, law enforcement officials wait 24 hours before they consider an adult “missing.”
At about 4 a.m. Saturday, Search and Rescue volunteers returned home for a few hours of sleep. At 8 a.m., they were back, this time reinforced by helicopter, airplane and dogs. Hardin noted that rain, which fell after Mandy Stavik was last seen and before the search started, may have obscured any signs of a struggle.
“We found nothing,” Ortner said., one hand unconsciously gripping the counter beside him. “We could’ve missed it, but we didn’t find anything.”