Arrest made in 28-year-old murder case in Whatcom County

Mandy Stavik (Whatcom County Sheriff's Office photo)

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- On Nov. 24, 1989, Mandy Stavik, an 18-year-old college student home on Thanksgiving break, went for a jog with the family dog near her home in the Whatcom County community of Acme.

She vanished. Later, her body was found in the Nooksack River. She had been kidnapped, raped and murdered.

“Her brutal murder rocked our community and she is still remembered by many,” said Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo.

And now an arrest has been made in the coldest of cold cases in Whatcom County.

The Whatcom County Sheriff's Office says a DNA test from of sample taken from Stavik's body has led to the arrest of a 50-year-old man. The Sheriff's Office says the man, identified as Timothy Forrest Bass, lived on the same road as Stavik.

The Sheriff's Office says the State Crime Laboratory determined that the DNA match probability was 1 in 11 quadrillion.

“A co-employee of Bass observed him discarding a plastic glass and a coke can for which he had been drinking. These item were secured and given to the detectives of the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office,” said Whatcom County Prosecutor Dace McEachran.

The prosecutor said Bass refused to take a voluntary DNA test and his employer declined to help get DNA as well.

It was the DNA on the plastic cup that was a match the DNA from Stavik’s body after she was raped and murdered.

Sheriff's detectives arrested Bass on Tuesday for investigation of murder, kidnapping and rape.

Over the decades, investigators have tracked down hundreds of leads about potential suspects inside and outside the U.S.

"Our detectives poured their hearts and souls in this case," said Sheriff Bill Elfo. "We've never forgot this case."

The investigation is continuing, and the Sheriff's Office has asked that anyone with information on Bass can call detectives at 360-778-6600. The Sheriff’s Office also has a tip line at 360-788-5303. This line is a recorded message and is available 24 hours a day.

A new call center was activated at the Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center to help in the investigation.

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.

Elfo said the Sheriff's Office is interested in any incidents Bass may have had with women.

Stavik was a freshman at Central Washington University at the time of her death. She was a graduate of Mount Baker High School.

She would have celebrated her 46th birthday this year.

We hope this arrest will help bring closure to Mandy’s family and the greater Whatcom County community,” said Elfo.

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