Crime

Everson man charged with first-degree murder in 1989 death of Mandy Stavik

Attorney Doug Hyldahl, left represents Timothy Forrest Bass, 50, of Everson at his first appearance Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, at Whatcom Superior Court. Bass was arrested Tuesday morning by the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office in connection with the 1989 abduction and murder of 18-year-old Amanda “Mandy” Stavik of Acme.
Attorney Doug Hyldahl, left represents Timothy Forrest Bass, 50, of Everson at his first appearance Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, at Whatcom Superior Court. Bass was arrested Tuesday morning by the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office in connection with the 1989 abduction and murder of 18-year-old Amanda “Mandy” Stavik of Acme. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

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Whatcom County prosecutors filed formal charges Thursday, Dec. 14 against Timothy Forrest Bass, the suspect in the 1989 abduction, rape and murder of 18-year-old Amanda “Mandy” Stavik of the Acme area.

Bass, 50, of Everson was arrested Tuesday morning by the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office. The court set bail at $1 million for Bass on Wednesday afternoon.

Whatcom County Prosecutor David McEachran charged Bass with first-degree murder.

McEachran said this is likely the only charge Bass will be facing. He said he couldn’t charge Bass separately with rape or kidnapping because the statute of limitations had run out for both crimes. There is no statute of limitations for murder in Washington state.

However, the possible rape and kidnapping of Stavik is included within the first-degree murder charge. McEachran said there are three different ways to charge first-degree murder in Washington state – one being that a person either attempted to commit or did commit the crime or rape or kidnapping and then fled, which resulted in the victim’s death. This is how Bass was charged.

The case is not a capital punishment case, meaning the death penalty cannot be sought.

Mandy Stavik-use as inset
Amanda “Mandy” Stavik in her Mount Baker High School graduation photo. She was a freshman at Central Washington University when she was killed in November 1989 while home visiting family in Whatcom County. File Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald



If convicted, Bass could be sentenced from 20 years to life in prison and face up to a $50,000 fine.

Bass’ arraignment is set for 9 a.m. Dec. 22.

Investigators set up a call center Thursday to take information from the public regarding the case. Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo said he hopes that seeing Bass’ photo or reading about him will help people “put two and two together,” in remembering information that could be useful.

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.

Stavik went missing Nov. 24, 1989, while jogging near her home on 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. She was last seen at about 2:30 p.m. that day, with her German shepherd dog, Kyra.

Stavik’s unclothed body was found three days later in the south fork of the Nooksack River, about 3½ miles from the family’s home. Stavik’s cause of death was drowning, an autopsy done by medical examiner Gary Goldfogel determined. Goldfogel also found a blood clot on the back of Stavik’s head, which was indicative of a blow to the head that could have knocked her unconscious, court records show.

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, the court records state.

From the evidence taken from Stavik’s body during the autopsy, a DNA profile was created. Over the last several years, voluntary DNA evidence was collected from at least 30 people in the Acme area where Stavik lived. None of the samples sent to the Washington State Crime lab for analysis matched the suspect profile, the records state.

During the voluntary DNA campaign, Bass was contacted several times by law enforcement and refused to provide a sample. Elfo said Bass’ 2014 refusal, coupled with other peculiar behavior, is what led detectives to focus on him as a suspect.

Bass’ employer, Franz Bakery, where he drove a delivery truck, was contacted in an attempt to get a DNA sample. A detective asked if investigators could swab the inside of Bass’ truck, but the company declined to cooperate, the records state.

A representative from Franz Bakery could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Another employee of Franz saw Bass drink out of a plastic cup and a Coke can. The employee grabbed the cup and can and turned them into the sheriff’s office. DNA taken from the cup matched that of the suspect profile taken from Stavik’s body, the records state.

The chance investigators would select a random, unrelated citizen in the U.S. with a matching DNA profile is 1 in 11 quadrillion, Elfo said. When investigators contacted Bass, he indicated he had no contact with Stavik prior to her disappearance or intimate sexual relations with her, the records state.

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, according to court records.

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.

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt

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