Utilizing DNA evidence obtained from a coffee cup, police were able to trace the DNA to a suspect in the rape and murder of an 18-year-old teenager who was last seen in November 1989.
On Wednesday the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office announced that it had arrested Timothy Forrest Bass on suspicion of murder, kidnapping and rape in connection to the killing of Mandy Stavik.
“He’s been a suspect for several years, but he was not a suspect when the crime occurred,” said Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo at a news conference, reported Fox News.
According to Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, on November 24, 1989, the Friday following Thanksgiving, 18-year-old Amanda Stavik left her home on Strand Road for a jog with her dog. The dog returned several hours later, but Mandy Stavik did not. After a search, Mandy’s body was found in the South Fork of the Nooksack River.
In the 28 years since the murder, Whatcom County police have worked exhaustively to find the killer, analyzing hundreds of leads and asking for assistance with the community. Several hundred suspects had been considered, searching as far away as Asia.
That search led them to Bass, now age 50. At the time of the murder, Bass lived on Strand Road, not far from Mandy Stavik’s home. The DNA found on the coffee cup was sent to the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory, who reported that the DNA matched the DNA recovered from Mandy’s body in 1989.
"The likelihood of that match was 1 in 11 quadrillion,” said Elfo at a press conference that was covered by The Bellingham Herald. Bass was arrested on December 12, 2017 on suspicion of First Degree Murder, First Degree Kidnapping and First Degree Rape of Mandy Stavik.
Before her murder, Stavik was popular among the community, having graduated Mount Baker High School in 1989 as an athlete, honor student and cheerleader, was attending Central Washington University at the time of her murder.
“Her brutal murder rocked our community and she is still remembered by many,” said Elfo. “We hope that this arrest will help bring closure to Mandy’s family and the greater Whatcom County community.”
A coworker helped provide police with the cup that Bass had used, which helped link the DNA found on it to the DNA recovered from Stavik’s body.
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