Coworker gave cup and Coke can that led to identity of suspect in 1989 murder case

Prosecutor details arrest of Mandy Stavik murder suspect

Whatcom County Prosecutor David McEachran explains how detectives arrested Timothy Forrest Bass, 50, of Everson in connection with the 1989 abduction and murder of 18-year-old Mandy Stavik of Acme, at Bass’s first appearance Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2
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Whatcom County Prosecutor David McEachran explains how detectives arrested Timothy Forrest Bass, 50, of Everson in connection with the 1989 abduction and murder of 18-year-old Mandy Stavik of Acme, at Bass’s first appearance Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2

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Timothy Forrest Bass, 50, of Everson was arrested Tuesday morning by the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office in connection with the 1989 abduction, rape and murder of 18-year-old Amanda T. “Mandy” Stavik of the Acme area.

The court set bail at $1 million for Bass. He appeared on suspicion of first-degree murder, but sheriff’s detectives also arrested him on suspicion of first-degree kidnapping and first-degree rape. If he makes bail, he’s not allowed to leave Whatcom County. Bass’ next court appearance is at 9 a.m. Dec. 22.

Formal charges are expected to be filed Thursday.

Bass has no criminal history in Washington state, but in August 2010 his wife filed for a domestic violence protection order lasting longer than a year. It was to protect her and their three children, according to Whatcom County Superior Court records.

In the file, Bass’ wife alleged physical and verbal abuse. She also claimed that Bass watched cold case files television shows, and during one incident, told her “I wouldn’t get caught because I’m not that stupid. It would be easy to get away with it,” the court records state.

Bass’ wife terminated the protection order a few months after it was filed.

The Mandy Stavik murder case

Stavik went missing Nov. 24, 1989, while jogging near her home in the 3600 block of Strand Road in Clipper, a community clustered along Highway 9 between Acme and Van Zandt. Stavik was home for Thanksgiving break from her freshman year at Central Washington University, after graduating from Mount Baker High School. She was last seen about 2:30 p.m. that day, with her dog, Kyra. Stavik’s dog returned home alone around 5 p.m.

Amanda Stavik
Amanda “Mandy” Stavik Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald file

Stavik was wearing a light colored sweatshirt, dark green sweatpants and light blue running shoes, according to a probable cause statement read in court by Whatcom County Prosecutor Dave McEachran. Two days after she disappeared, a pair of green colored sweatpants were found on a short, dirt road about five miles south of the Whatcom-Skagit county border, in Skagit County.

Two pillow cases that contained two types of hair also were found. On one of the cases, a long blonde hair strand was found, similar to Stavik’s hair, McEachran said. An expert human tracker was brought in, and tire tracks were found near the pillow cases, but no treads were visible.

On Nov. 27, Stavik’s unclothed body was found in the South Fork of the Nooksack River, about 3½ miles south of the family’s home. She was wearing only her socks and running shoes, McEachran said.

An autopsy, done by medical examiner Gary Goldfogel, determined Stavik had drowned. Goldfogel also found a blood clot on the back of her head, which was indicative of a blow to the head that could cause unconsciousness, McEachran said.

Stavik also was engaged in sexual activity either before or after her death, and semen was removed from her body and preserved. No injuries were observed on her body, other than a few superficial scratches stretching from her thighs to her knees, which could have been caused by running through the brush, McEachran said.

From the evidence taken from Stavik’s body during the autopsy, a DNA profile was created, as hair is not as conclusive. A number of suspects were developed, but their DNA profile did not match that of the DNA taken from Stavik’s body.

Over the last several years, voluntary DNA evidence has been collected from at least 50 people in the Acme area where Stavik lived. More than 30 samples were sent to the Washington State Crime lab for analysis, but none of them matched the suspect profile, McEachran said.

Coke can linking Timothy Bass

During the voluntary DNA campaign, Bass was contacted several times by law enforcement. Each time, Bass refused to give a voluntary sample, McEachran said.

Detective Kevin Bowhay with the sheriff’s office found that Bass had lived on Strand Road, about a mile and a half away from Stavik, in 1989. When he was in high school, Bass started attending girls’ basketball games to watch Stavik play, McEachran said. He was four years ahead of Stavik in school.

When Stavik would go jogging, her route took her past Bass’ residence. Because of the connections, and coupled with Bass’ refusal to give a DNA sample, Detective Bowhay contacted Bass’ employer, Franz Bakery, where Bass drove a delivery truck, in an attempt to get a DNA sample.

Bowhay asked if Franz Bakery could swab the inside of a truck Bass was assigned to drive, but the company declined to cooperate, McEachran said. Another employee of Franz grabbed a plastic cup and a Coke can that Bass had drank from and gave it to detectives, McEachran said.

The items were examined and a DNA profile of Bass was developed. It matched that of the DNA found in Stavik’s body. The chance investigators would select a random, unrelated citizen in the United State with a matching DNA profile is 1 in 11 quadrillion, McEachran said. The results from the crime lab were forwarded to the sheriff’s office last week, McEachran said.

Bass was contacted Tuesday, and when asked to give information about Stavik prior to her disappearance, he indicated he had no contact, no relationship and no sexual relations with her, McEachran said. For hours, Bass denied contact with Stavik.

When he was told about the matching DNA profile, Bass continued to deny any intimate relationship. After he was arrested, Bass then indicated he had a consensual intimate relationship with Stavik prior to her disappearance, McEachran said.

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt


Nov. 24, 1989: Amanda “Mandy” Theresa Stavik, 18, a Central Washington University freshman who was home visiting family, disappears after going jogging with the family dog near her mother’s home near Acme. She was last seen by her brother at 3 p.m. Her mother went looking for her at 4:30 p.m. The dog had returned without Stavik and the family called 911 about 7 p.m. Law enforcement began searching around 9:45 p.m.

Nov. 26, 1989: Friends and neighbors collect more than $8,000 for a reward fund.

Nov. 27, 1989: Stavik’s nude body was found in the south fork of the Nooksack River.

Dec. 3, 1989: More than 900 people attend a memorial service for Stavik at Mount Baker High School.

Dec. 6, 1989: Stavik’s ashes are buried at the St. Joseph Mission Cemetery on Strand Road near Acme.

2007: The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office devoted more hours to reviewing the case reports and sending detectives to re-interview people involved, but the case remained unsolved.

2003: Whatcom County law enforcement officials discount a report that linked a deceased robbery and murder suspect to the murder. Former Jefferson County Sheriff Pete Piccini had said that in 1990 he found evidence in a Sumas storage locker that linked Charles T. Sinclair to Stavik. Sinclair died in jail in Anchorage, Alaska, in 1990.

Dec. 12, 2017: Timothy Forrest Bass, 50, of Everson is arrested on suspicion of the first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree rape of Stavik.

ABC’s investigative series “20/20” will premiere “30 Years Searching,” a two-hour special on this case at 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 20, 2019.

Follow more of our reporting on Timothy Bass on trial for Mandy Stavik’s death

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