Crime

‘I wanted to do the right thing for Mandy,’ testifies coworker who collected cup, Coke can

Bass’ coworker: ‘If Tim was potentially involved in that crime, I wanted to do the right thing for Mandy’

Kim Wagner, a coworker of Timothy Bass, testified on Thursday, May 16, 2019. The evidence Wagner provided led to Bass' arrest in December 2017 – almost three decades after Mandy Stavik's 1989 death.
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Kim Wagner, a coworker of Timothy Bass, testified on Thursday, May 16, 2019. The evidence Wagner provided led to Bass' arrest in December 2017 – almost three decades after Mandy Stavik's 1989 death.

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Bass on trial for Stavik’s death

Timothy Bass was convicted in Whatcom County Superior Court for the 1989 murder of Amanda Stavik.

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Kim Wagner, Timothy Bass’ coworker at Franz Bakery who turned in evidence with his DNA on it, was motivated to do the right thing, she testified Thursday, May 16, during Bass’ first-degree murder trial.

Bass is accused in the 1989 alleged abduction, rape and murder of 18-year-old Amanda “Mandy” Stavik.

Wagner said she grew up in Ferndale and was delivering goods to the stores out in the Acme area when she learned Stavik disappeared while on her jog on Nov. 24, 1989. Wagner said Stavik’s death impacted her, much like it did the whole community, and she followed the developments of the case.

In 2015 — 26 years after Stavik’s disappearance — Wagner met Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office detective Kevin Bowhay, who asked to swab Bass’ delivery truck for DNA evidence. Wagner, a store manager, referred Bowhay to corporate, which denied the request without a search warrant.

Wagner did give Bowhay Bass’ delivery route, testifying “Because if Tim was potentially involved in that crime, I wanted to do the right thing for Mandy.”

Bowhay said during his testimony Thursday that they watched Bass on his route for one night, but didn’t find any discarded items.

When Bowhay let Wagner know, she collected a plastic cup he drank water from and put it in her desk drawer. Two days later, she collected a Coke can he drank out of, texted Bowhay and turned over the items to him on Aug. 10, 2017.

Those items would later lead to the December 2017 arrest of Bass — 28 years after Stavik’s death.

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Kim Wagner, a fellow coworker of Timothy Bass at the Franz Bakery who turned in evidence with Bass’ DNA on it, listens as special prosecuting attorney David McEachran asks a question during her testimony Thursday in Whatcom County Superior Court. Lacey Young The Bellingham Herald

Other Thursday testimony

Bowhay testified that he was one of four lead detectives to handle the case, taking it over in 2009. Bowhay started a systematic voluntary DNA campaign of people who lived in the South Fork Valley. Bowhay said he contacted Bass at his home twice, but Bass refused to provide his DNA each time, according to court records. Bowhay said he tracked leads as far as Cambodia, where a man who frequented the Acme area told officers he was present or knew who had killed Stavik, but later recanted his statement. That man was ruled out as a suspect after his DNA did not match the suspect profile.

Gina Malone, Bass’ now ex-wife, testified about several conversations she had with her husband and a sudden change in wedding plans, moving their wedding date up to approximately two months after Stavik’s death. Malone also said that after detectives made a second visit to their Everson house in 2015, Bass asked his mother if they could blame Stavik’s death on his dead father — a request his mother denied.

Katie Woodard, the forensic scientist with the state crime lab resumed her testimony and said none of the 84 male DNA samples she received from law enforcement matched the unknown male DNA profile created from evidence taken from Stavik’s body. After receiving a plastic cup and Coke can from law enforcement, Woodard said she matched DNA from the cup to the suspect profile. Woodard said the statistical probability they would select an unrelated individual in the U.S. population at random who also matches is 1 in 11 quadrillion. A DNA profile also was created from a cheek swab later obtained from Bass by law enforcement, Woodard said, and that profile matched the DNA profile from the cup and the suspect profile.

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Special prosecuting attorney David McEachran displays a photo exhibit showing the room at Franz Bakery where Timothy Bass’ coworker Kim Wagner gathered evidence with Bass’ DNA on it during the trial Thursday in Whatcom County Superior Court. Lacey Young The Bellingham Herald

Quotes of the day

Kevin Bowhay: “Kim’s pretty blunt. She said ‘You’re looking for his DNA, aren’t you?’ She said ‘I can get that. I would hope that somebody would do that for my daughter.’ I told Kim that I couldn’t tell her what to do or what not to do.”

Kim Wagner: I was a 19-year-old kid and ... that didn’t happen in Whatcom County. ... This is the first time I didn’t feel safe where I lived. It was a bad feeling - the whole county, everybody who lived in the foothills, it was everyone.”

Gina Malone (Bass’ ex-wife): “I made a comment that it was kind of stupid to run alone, cause there’s crazy people out there.”

The prosecution in Timothy Bass' trial for first-degree murder displays a video of former Chief Civil Deputy Ron Peterson describing the recovery of Mandy Stavik's body on Nov. 27, 1989.

The trial so far

A jury was seated 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.

Stavik’s family, friends and neighbors testified Monday and Tuesday, May 13-14.

Ron Peterson, the former Chief Civil Deputy for the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office testified about finding Stavik’s body and preserving evidence.

Tom Bass, the defendant’s brother, testified Wednesday, May 15, about two meetings he held with his brother where his brother asked him to lie for him, as well as admitted to having a sexual relationship with Stavik prior to her death. Whatcom County Medical Examiner Dr. Gary Goldfogel testified that Stavik’s death was consistent with someone abduction, raping and murdering her.

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.

Key people

Kim Wagner is a fellow coworker at Franz Bakery who learned detectives with the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office were investigating Timothy Bass in relation to Mandy Stavik’s death. Wagner collected a plastic cup and Coke can Bass drank out of and turned them in as evidence.

Kevin Bowhay, who is Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office detective, has been handling the Stavik case for 17 years as lead detective.

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.

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.

What’s next

Two other detectives who handled the Stavik case with Bowhay are expected to take the stand starting Friday, May 17. This will conclude the prosecution’s witnesses.

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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