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DNA leads to arrest in 1989 rape, murder of 18-year-old Whatcom County woman

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — After 28 years, an arrest has been made in the murder of a young Whatcom County woman who went for a jog and was never seen alive again.

On Nov. 24, 1989, 18-year-old Amanda Stavik, who went by Mandy, had taken the family dog with her while she jogged in the rural area. It was the day after Thanksgiving and Mandy was home from college.

>> PHOTOS: Crime scenes in the disappearance of Mandy Stavik

Several hours later, the dog returned home, but Mandy did not. Her body was found a few days later in the Nooksack River. She had been raped.

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The road to the arrest

Authorities said that over the past 28 years, hundreds of leads emerged and were investigated in the case. As the years passed, the sheriff’s office continued to ask for tips from the community. During the course of the investigation, deputies consulted with forensic experts and renowned homicide investigators, the sheriff's office said.

Investigators said one of the potential suspects that emerged in recent years was Everson resident Timothy Forrest Bass, who is now 50. He also lived on Strand Road, not far from Mandy’s house.




Bass was arrested Tuesday at his Franz Bakery job for investigation of first-degree murder, kidnapping and rape in the Mandy Stavik case.

Before his arrest, Bass allegedly bragged about never being caught and outsmarting police. A coworker obtained a soda can discarded by Bass. It was turned into the sheriff's office.

Deputies sent DNA samples from Bass to the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory, which reported that his DNA matched DNA recovered from Mandy’s body in 1989. The lab determined that the probability of a match was 1 in 11 quadrillion.

Closing the case has been a priority of the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office for nearly three decades.

"If you commit a murder in Whatcom County, and even though it remains unsolved for a number of years, it remains actively investigated," said Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo. "We will follow any leads necessary to any part of the world to solve it."

About Mandy

At the time of her murder, Mandy was a first-year student at Central Washington University and well known in the east Whatcom County community.




She had graduated from Mount Baker High School earlier in the year and would have celebrated her 46th birthday this year.

Her mother and other family members asked for privacy while they come to terms with the arrest.

About Bass

Bass has no criminal record, but his wife filed a protection order claiming physical and emotional abuse. He refused to give a voluntary DNA sample in the years following the murder. Investigators collected voluntary DNA samples from more than 50 people.

The Bass' lived near Highway 9, just miles from where Mandy's mother still lives today.

According to documents filed today in Whatcom County Superior Court, Bass often watched Stavik's basketball games at Mount Baker High in the 80s, even though he was four years ahead of her in school.




He was charged with first-degree murder on Thursday.

Statement from Franz

Franz Bakery released this statement after Bass' arrest.

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. 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.

How you can help

Anyone with information about Bass that may be helpful to the investigation is asked to contact detectives at the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office at 360-778-6600. There is also an automated tip line for existing cases at 360-778-6663 where messages can be left at any time of day or night.

A call center will be activated immediately after the 1:30 p.m. news conference at the Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center Wednesday. Calls will be taken in person and detectives will be standing by to evaluate information that is received. The number for the call center is 360-788-5303.