It was the day after Thanksgiving in 1989 that 18-year-old Mandy Stavik went for a jog with the family dog. The dog returned home a short while later but Mandy was nowhere in sight. Her body would be recovered three days later on the banks of Nooksack River, just three and a half miles south of her family’s home. There was evidence that she had been raped and investigators believe she may have still been alive when her murderer threw her to her watery grave. Now, nearly three decades later, police say they are closer than ever to closing this case for good.
As one of Whatcom County’s oldest cold cases, investigators have long been haunted by Mandy’s murder and for several years now detectives have had a suspect in their crosshairs, however, with insufficient evidence prosecutors had difficulty executing an arrest warrant. Their big break in the case wouldn’t come until September of 2017, when officials were able to secure a DNA sample from their suspect, Timothy Forrest Bass.
The Bellingham Herald reports that Bass had no criminal history within the state of Washington but did have violent tendencies as described in a court order filed on the behalf of his wife who chose to seek out a protective order against Bass in 2010.
Bass’ wife claimed that Bass had shoved her, causing to her back to become badly bruised as she swept the floor. More alarmingly, the statement also included a quote from Bass who told his wife, “people have made me so angry before and I can see why people murder other people.” She also claimed they would regularly watch true crime shows and Bass would often interject with off-hand comments describing how he wouldn’t have been as “stupid” as the perpetrators featured and how murder would be “easy to get away with.”
Bass’ anger was not only taken out on his wife, but she also alleges that he physically and verbally abused their three children. The couple later reconciled and their divorce proceedings came to a halt.
After an outpouring of leads from members of the community, investigators began to look into Bass, who had been living near the Stavik family at the time Mandy had been murdered. Witnesses claimed that Bass had openly bragged about getting away with murder and believed he would never get caught according to KIRO 7.
Investigators conclusively tied Bass to the rape and murder of Mandy Stavik after a co-worker was able to smuggle out a cup Bass had used at work. DNA extracted from the cup was a match to DNA evidence found on Stavik’s body, and the silver bullet investigators needed to finally close in on their suspect, Fox News reports.
On December 12, 2017, law enforcement placed Timothy Forrest Bass under arrest. He’s been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, and first-degree rape. A judge has since set Bass’ bond at $1 million.