Amanda “Mandy” Stavik was an 18-year-old college freshman who was raped, abducted and murdered during a run near her home in her small town in Whatcom County, Washington.
The teen had just started her first year at Central Washington University. She graduated from Mount Baker High School where she was actively involved in school activities, including sports and band, the Bellingham Herald reported. She was on the honor roll and she was fluent in sign language, according to The Washington Post.
Stavik was especially passionate about running. She had a favorite trail, which was about five miles between her home and the Nooksack River. She asked her mother, Mary Stavik, to drive the route so she would know the exact distance, according to the Bellingham Herald. It was on that running trail that Mandy disappeared. Her body was found floating in the Nooksack River three days after her disappearance on November 24, 1989.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Mandy Stavik Grew Up in Alaska & Moved to Whatcom County, Washington in 7th Grade
Amanda “Mandy” Stavik had only lived in Washington for a few years before her rape, murder and abduction in 1989. Her family moved to Whatcom County when she was in 7th grade. The Stavick family moved after her mom, Mary Stavik, fell in love with the area. Her mom’s best friend had moved to Whatcom County before the Stavik family. Before moving, Stavik lived in Palmer, Alaska, according to the Bellingham Herald.
A memorial service held at Mount Baker High School on December 4, 1989, drew a large crowd of about 1,000 students. Tears were flowing as the two-hour service opened with Amazing Grace played haltingly on a piano, and tears continued streaming down the faces of Mandy’s friends and classmates as they shared memories of the teen, according to a newspaper archives.
She was remembered as compassionate and devoted, and full of unshakable optimism.
“Mandy was a real survivor and one of our philosophies – Mandy’s and mine – was to take a bad situation, any bad situation, and try to make it a learning lesson and try to grow from it and profit from it,” Mary Stavik said at the memorial service, according to newspaper archives. “This tragedy is a real challenge to me to try to live up to that. It hasn’t been easy. But, on the other hand, I have made some friends.”
2. Mandy Stavik Was Involved in Band & Sports at Mount Baker High School
Mandy Stavik was actively involved in her school, Mount Baker High School, after her family moved to Whatcom County. She was in band, played sports, participated in academic activities and other school activities. Sports were one of the teen’s many interests, according to the Bellingham Herald.
“Mandy played sports anywhere she was, all the time. There was no sport she didn’t play,” Mary said during her daughter’s murder trial.
The Washington Post reported Mandy was a star student and made the honor roll in high school. She played flute, saxophone and clarinet in band, and played varsity softball and basketball.
“She was a high achiever,” a former teacher told the Bellingham Herald. “She wanted to do well in everything she did. She had it all going for her; she had a bright future ahead of her.”
Stavik was passionate about running. Her favorite route took her from the family home on Strand Road, which was later renamed Clipper Road, down to the Nooksack River. Mandy even had her mom, Mary, drive the route so she would know the exact distance. It was just short of five miles, the newspaper reported.
3. Mandy Stavik Had Dreams of Becoming a Commercial Airline Pilot
Molly Brighton, Mary Stavik’s sister, said during her sister’s murder trial the teen had dreams of becoming a commercial airline pilot, according to the Bellingham Herald.
Stavik was a freshman at Central Washington University when she died. She attended the university to earn her commercial pilot’s license. But, like many first-year college students, Mandy realized her first choice of a major was not quite suited to her interests, according to The Washington Post.
She decided she wanted a change in career paths after she realized she would rather be “looking out the window rather than [at] the instrument panel,” the Washington Post reported.
4. Mandy Stavik Was Learning Japanese From Her Friend & Roommate, Yoko, During Her First Year of College
Mandy quickly befriended her roommate during her first year of college at Central Washington University in 1989. Her roommate, Yoko, was Japanese. The two were learning each other’s languages, according to the Bellingham Herald.
Japanese wasn’t the first language outside of English Stavik decided to learn. She was also fluent in sign language, the Washington Post reported.
Yoko and Mandy quickly became so close that Mandy brought Yoko home for Thanksgiving and to meet her family. The day after Thanksgiving, on November 24, 1989, the pair went for a walk on Stavik’s favorite running trail. Mandy later left to run on the trail.
5. Mandy Had Consistent Routines & Her Mom Immediately Knew Something Was Wrong When She Did Not Come Home
Amanda “Mandy” Stavik was only 18, but she had consistent habits and a routine. Because of that, her mother was immediately “panicked” when her daughter did not return home from her run, she said during the Timothy Bass trial.
“I was panicked. She was so consistent in what she always did, there was no reason for her not to come back,” her mother, Mary Stavik, said at the trial, according to the Bellingham Herald.
Mandy Stavik also had plans to go into Bellingham that night. So when Mandy hadn’t returned from her run for several hours, Mary Stavik knew something was wrong.
Mary Stavik typically went along with Mandy on her runs, riding her bike while Mandy ran alongside her German shepherd, Kyra. Because relatives were visiting for the holiday, Mary did not join her daughter on the run the day she disappeared, the Bellingham Herald reported.
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