Crime

‘There was no reason for her not to come back’ Stavik’s mother says during Bass trial

Family, friends and neighbors testify about when they last saw Mandy Stavik

Family, friends and neighbors of Amanda "Mandy" Stavik speak about when they last saw her on her jog in 1989 before she disappeared, during the trial at Whatcom County Superior Court on Monday, May 13, 2019.
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Family, friends and neighbors of Amanda "Mandy" Stavik speak about when they last saw her on her jog in 1989 before she disappeared, during the trial at Whatcom County Superior Court on Monday, May 13, 2019.

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Bass on trial for Stavik’s death

Timothy Bass is on trial in Whatcom County Superior Court for the 1989 murder of Amanda Stavik.

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Mary Stavik said she fell in love with Whatcom County after her best friend moved here. Soon after, Mary, now 82, moved from Palmer, Alaska, with her then husband, three daughters and son.

Mary’s daughter, Amanda, or “Mandy”, was in the seventh grade at the time. They got a house on Strand Road (later renamed to Clipper Road) in Clipper, about four miles north of Acme.

Approximately 15 families lived there at the time, Mary said during her testimony Monday, May 13, in Whatcom County Superior Court, where Timothy Bass is on trial for first-degree murder related to the 1989 alleged abduction, rape and murder of 18-year-old Mandy Stavik.

Mary said her daughter Mandy did everything she could and became involved in band, sports, academics and other school activities at Mount Baker High School.

“Mandy played sports anywhere she was, all the time. There was no sport she didn’t play,” Mary said.

Mandy also had a favorite running route that took her from their home and down Strand Road to the Nooksack River. Mary said Mandy made her get in the car and drive the route so she knew the exact length of the route — just shy of five miles.

Then 18-year-old Mandy went off to college at Central Washington University in 1989.

Mandy’s older sister, Molly Brighton, said Mandy was interested in becoming a commercial pilot. Mandy became fast friends with her Japanese roommate, Yoko, as the pair were trying to learn each others’ native languages. Mandy decided to come home for Thanksgiving break and brought Yoko with her.

The two walked Mandy’s favorite running route the day after the holiday, on Nov. 24, 1989, Mary said, and Mandy then went for a run later in the day.

‘This can’t be happening to us again’

Normally Mary would ride her bike and their German Shepherd dog Kyra would run beside Mandy, but Mary had family in town for the holiday and declined to go with Mandy that day.

After several hours, Mary said she became panicked because Mandy had not returned, and that was unlike her. Mandy also had made plans that night to go into Bellingham to visit with some friends.

Molly said her mother called to say Mandy was missing.

“I was distraught. This can’t be happening to us again,” Molly said during testimony Monday, referring to a 1975 incident when brother Brent Stavik was shot to death while bow hunting in Alaska.

Mary said she and others got in the car and drove the roads nearby to search for Mandy.

Then Kyra came home without her, and Mary soon called the sheriff’s office. Three days later, an officer told her they had found Mandy’s body in the river.

Timothy Bass faces charges for the alleged abduction, rape and murder of Amanda "Mandy" Stavik in 1989. Here's what we learned from the prosecuting attorney on day one of the trial.



The trial so far

A jury was seated Thursday afternoon, May 9, after four days of questioning. It consists of 12 jurors with four alternates. The jury is made up of eight men and four women.

Opening statements were presented by both the prosecution and the defense Friday morning, May 10.

What happened Monday

Mandy’s mother, Mary, took the stand, and Molly Brighton, Mandy’s older sister, also testified about Mandy and the day she went missing.

Lee Stavik, Mandy’s younger brother, who was at a nearby neighbor’s house playing pool, said he saw his sister run by and headed for home soon after that.

A number of neighbors or friends of neighbors who lived on Strand Road, including Judy Strachila, Brad Gorum, Jeremy Anderson, testified that they saw Mandy during different parts of her run.

David Craker who was helping his wife with her rural paper delivery route, said he saw Stavik a few minutes from her house while she was on her jog. He said he also saw a pickup truck traveling in the same direction as Stavik, with two people inside who he thought were in their 30s, and who he didn’t recognize.

Allen Pratt, who worked with search and rescue and helped the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office., testified that he noticed that Kyra, the family dog who went with Mandy on her jog, was cowering with her tail tucked when he got to the Stavik residence and that silt from the river on the dog’s hindquarters. Pratt also said he saw some signs of a disturbance on the side of Strand Road, going down toward the ditch, where it looked like somebody had been walking or rustling around.

Timothy Bass faces charges for the alleged abduction, rape and murder of Amanda "Mandy" Stavik in 1989. Here's what we learned from the defense attorney on day one of the trial.

Quote of the day

Mary Stavik: “I was panicked. She was so consistent in what she always did, there was no reason for her not to come back.”

Key players

David McEachran, who retired in December after 44 years as lead county prosecutor, was called back as a special prosecutor to handle the case.

Starck Follis, who is the director of the Whatcom County Public Defender’s Office, is one of three attorneys defending Timothy Bass.

Timothy Bass is accused of first-degree murder for the 1989 death of 18-year-old Amanda “Mandy” Stavik.

Amanda “Mandy” Stavik, 18, disappeared while jogging near her home in Clipper, near Acme, on Nov. 24, 1989. Three days later her nude body was found in the south fork of the Nooksack River.

What’s next

Mandy’s boyfriend, Rick Zender, and some of her friends are among those expected to testify when the trial resumes on Tuesday.

Thirty years after the murder of Amanda "Mandy" Stavik in 1989, Timothy Bass is scheduled to face trial for first-degree murder in May. A reported DNA match led to Bass' arrest in December 2017.

Background on the case

On Nov. 24, 1989, 18-year-old Amanda “Mandy” Stavik went for a jog near her home in Clipper, near Acme, and never returned. Her body was found three days later in the south fork of the Nooksack River. She was wearing only her jogging sneakers and socks.

In December 2017, 51-year-old Timothy Forrest Bass, of Everson, was arrested in connection with Stavik’s 1989 death. Bass’ fellow coworker turned in a plastic cup and Coke can he drank out of. Bass’ DNA reportedly matched the suspect profile created from evidence taken from Stavik’s body during an autopsy.

Bass is currently on trial for first-degree murder.

BEHIND OUR REPORTING

About our coverage

Reporter Denver Pratt will be in court every day of the Timothy Bass trial for the 1989 death of Amanda “Mandy” Stavik. Bass is accused of first-degree murder.

Check back weekdays for concise updates from court. Or, sign up for our Breaking News newsletter for updates.

You can also follow the reporter on Twitter @DenverPratt or @BhamHerald for live updates.

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Reporter Denver Pratt joined The Bellingham Herald in 2017 and covers courts and criminal and social justice. She has worked in Montana, Florida and Virginia.


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