Franz Bakery officials said Thursday the company was not provided a search warrant or subpoena by Whatcom County Sheriff’s deputies during an investigation into the 1989 murder of Amanda “Mandy” Stavik.
The Oregon-based bakery company was widely criticized on social media after reports it failed to cooperate during an investigation that led to the arrest this week of an Everson man in connection with the 28-year-old murder case.
Whatcom County prosecutors on Thursday charged Timothy Forrest Bass, 50, with first-degree murder of Stavik – one of the county’s highest-profile cold cases. He was being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
Bass was a delivery driver for a Franz Bakery Outlet store at 156 Kelly Road, in an unincorporated area off Guide Meridian north of Bellingham.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Bellingham Herald
Stavik’s nude body was found in the south fork of the Nooksack River on November 27, 1989, and detectives have pursued the case relentlessly for nearly three decades, said Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo.
A key piece of evidence linking Bass to the crime came from DNA provided in September by a coworker at the Franz Bakery Outlet store.
Franz said sheriff’s detectives asked for informal permission to swab a company truck that Bass drove for DNA, but did not provide the company with legal documentation such as a subpoena or search warrant.
A Franz employee took a plastic cup and a Coke can that Bass had drunk from and gave it to detectives, said Whatcom County Prosecutor Dave McEachran.
The company’s lack of cooperation angered many, with some calling for a boycott of Franz products, which are sold widely in area grocery stores.
“Am I the only one that doesn’t want to buy anything from Franz bakery because they didn’t want to help the detectives?” Shawn Snow asked Tuesday in a comment on The Bellingham Herald’s Facebook page.
His comments were echoed by many other readers.
“I’d like them to make a statement,” Caroline Annie said Tuesday. “How on Earth will they justify saying no? Advice of a lawyer? They need to address this, definitely. I respect the employee who went out on a limb to cooperate.”
Elfo said the investigation began to focus on Bass in 2014, when Bass refused to provide his own DNA as detectives were collecting samples from dozens of former and current Acme residents. At the time of the murder, Bass lived about a mile away from Stavik on Strand Road, off Highway 9 in Acme.
Stavik, 18, was home for Thanksgiving from her freshman year at Central Washington University. She was a 1989 graduate of Mount Baker High, where she had been a popular honors student, cheerleader, athlete and musician.
Franz did not respond directly to a Bellingham Herald request for comment.
But in a statement posted Thursday night on the company’s Facebook page, Bass is called a former employee. The same statement was distributed via Globe Newswire, a marketing firm for publicly traded companies.
“We are saddened by the tragic news regarding, Amanda Stavik, and the potential involvement of one of our former employees who is alleged to have committed this crime prior to joining our company,” the statement read.
“Franz Bakery has a long history of supporting and cooperating with law enforcement. While the company recently learned there was an informal request for a DNA sample from this employee several years ago, law enforcement never provided the company with the proper documentation (i.e. search warrant, subpoena) that would have allowed us to provide this information. We are working and cooperating with law enforcement regarding this matter and will continue to do so.”
Franz Bakery is based in Portland, Oregon, and provides a variety of baked goods, including bread, English muffins, bagels and hamburger buns.