Mandy Stavik

Detectives make arrest in 28-year-old murder

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Each year about this time, local law enforcement reaches out to the community in an effort to solve one of the county’s most perplexing and longest unsolved crimes. This year, detectives announced a probable solution to the mystery.

Mandy Stavik vanished in 1989 on the Friday after Thanksgiving while jogging near her home east of Bellingham. Her body was found three days later in the South Fork of the Nooksack River.

Last week, detectives arrested a man in connection with the rape and murder of the Mount Baker High School honors student nearly 30 years ago. Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo said DNA evidence led to the arrest of Timothy Bass, 50, of Everson.

Sheriff’s detectives arrested Bass on suspicion of murder, kidnapping and rape. He appeared in court last week where bail was set at $1 million. It wasn’t immediately clear if Bass had obtained a lawyer.

Long a suspect in Stavik’s murder, Bass had refused to provide investigators with a DNA sample. A sample was obtained through cooperation with one of Bass’ coworkers. A match against DNA removed from Stavik’s body led prosecutors to charge Bass with the murder.

“Among the potential suspects that emerged in recent years was Timothy Forrest Bass,” the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office noted in a press release. “At the time of Mandy’s murder, Bass lived on Strand Road, not far from Mandy’s residence.

“Deputies forwarded DNA samples from Bass to the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory who reported that his DNA matched DNA recovered from Mandy’s body in 1989. The laboratory determined that the match probability was 1 in 11 quadrillion,” detectives noted in their statement.

Investigators obtained the DNA in September, Elfo said. Bass had refused to provide a DNA sample when contacted by Sheriff’s deputies. His employer also refused a request to give investigators DNA evidence without a warrant or subpoena. A coworker did agree to provide items that gave investigators Bass’ DNA.

A 1989 graduate of Mount Baker High, Stavik was home on break from her freshman year at Central Washington University when she disappeared.
When her German shepherd returned home alone, a search for the 18-year-old woman began.

A volunteer firefighter found her body during a search three days later in the South Fork of the Nooksack River. The discovery shocked the close-knit rural community.

The cause of Stavik’s death was listed as not inconsistent with drowning. Authorities said she may have been alive when she was dumped in the river.
Bass initially told authorities he had had no contact with Stavik, according to charging documents. But he later allegedly said they’d had a consensual sexual encounter before she went missing. Detectives said Bass may have been obsessed with the athletic young woman.

Bass does not have a criminal history in Washington, according to the Bellingham Herald.

“The investigation into the kidnapping, rape and murder of Mandy Stavik has remained a top priority for the Sheriff’s Office,” Elfo said. “Over the course of the last 28-plus years, hundreds of leads emerged and were systematically investigated. Over the past decades, the community was repeatedly asked for assistance in solving the case. Information was received, pertaining to hundreds of potential suspects and leads that were followed up locally, in other states and foreign countries, including Asia.

“During the course of the investigation, deputies consulted closely with forensic experts and renowned homicide investigators.”

Btown Valentines
More News...
‘It Is Time’
Iris Carías joins the Mount Vernon City Council

“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now…This may well be mankind’s last chance to choose between chaos or community.” —Martin Luther King Jr.

She won by just 52 votes out of more than 5,200 cast for her position in…

more »
Project Censored
Ten national stories you might’ve missed last year

In America, we commonly think of press freedom and censorship in terms of the First Amendment, which focuses attention on the press itself and limits on the power of government to restrict it. But the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drafted in the aftermath of World War II, presents…

more »
Energy Import
Regulators approve plan to retire coal energy

State regulators approve a plan that could help sunset the region’s reliance on coal-fired energy.

The Utilities and Transportation Commission last week unanimously approved a multi-party settlement of Puget Sound Energy’s request to increase electric rates and decrease natural gas…

more »
Lifestyle Talks

1:00pm|Ferndale Library

English Country Dancing

1:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Poetry Writing Group

5:30pm|Village Books

Jazz Jam

5:30pm|Illuminati Brewing

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

European Travelogue

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Cascade Games Convention

9:00am|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Wild Things

9:30am|Lake Padden Park

Garage Sale and Health Fair

12:00pm|Settlemyer Hall

Books and Bites

2:00pm|Blaine Library

Post-Holiday Detox

2:00pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

Coffee Tasting

3:00pm|Camber Cafe

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Bellingham Folk Festival

4:30pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Art Auction Gala

5:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

Anacortes Women's March

6:00pm|Depot Arts Center

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Sierra Club Winter Member Party

6:30pm|Boundary Bay Brewery


7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Opera Scenes

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center

The Flick

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Tropical Heat Wave Dance


Space Trek, Backyard Brawl

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Five for Fighting

8:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Village Books FiveFor
Cascade Games Convention

9:00am|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Garage Sale and Health Fair

12:00pm|Settlemyer Hall

Bellingham Folk Festival

4:30pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship


7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

The Flick

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Space Trek, Backyard Brawl

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

VFW Breakfast

8:00am|VFW Hall

Smoking Crow Opening

9:00am|Smoking Crow

Mason Bee Management

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Nordic Ski Ambassadors

10:00am|SnoPark at Salmon Ridge

Plant Society Field Trip

10:00am|Birch Bay State Park

Skagit Eagle Festival

10:00am|Howard Miller Steelhead Park

March on Bellingham

10:00am|Bellingham City Hall

Winter Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Of marching and mending


Travel to Cuzco and Machu PIcchu

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Mysticism in Art

2:00pm|Skagit County Historical Museum

Mona Openings

2:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Cedar Weaving Workshop

2:00pm|Lynden Library

Teddy Bear Biographies

2:00pm|Ferndale Library

Exploring Port

2:00pm|Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants

Learn to Grow a Vegetable Garden

2:00pm|Sumas Library

The Fight Against Human Trafficking

3:00pm|Everson Library

Kindgom Quest

4:00pm|Village Books

Music and Memories

5:00pm|Swinomish Casino & Lodge

Robert Burns Supper

5:30pm|Littlefield Celtic Center

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Ensemble Electra

7:30pm|Jansen Art Center

The Good Lovelies

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

see our complete calendar »

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 FiveFor Village Books