In 1989, a beautiful, athletic, and intelligent young woman named Mandy Stavik went missing while out on a run in her home of Whatcom County, Washington. 30 years later, authorities arrested a man named Timothy Bass with her murder.
Tonight, ABC News’ 20/20 will zero in on the life and death of Mandy Stavik. The segment will feature interviews with Mary Stavik, Mandy’s mother, Gina Malone, Bass’s ex-wife, Kim Wagner, Bass’s coworker, Molly Brighton, Mandy’s sister, Bridget Whitson, Mandy’s stepsister, Rick Zender, Mandy’s former boyfriend, and others.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Mandy Was an Avid Athlete
According to her mother, Mandy was an avid athlete. Mary Stavik tells the Bellingham Herald that her daughter played sports all the time. “There was no sport she didn’t play,” Mary said.
The Stavik family moved to Whatcom County shortly after Mary’s good friend made the move. At the time, Mandy was in 7th grade. In school, she was involved in band, sports, academics, and a number of other activities. She enjoyed varsity basketball and softball, the flute, clarinet, and saxophone, and was an honor student who spoke Japanese. She was even fluent in sign language.
Speaking to The Associated Press, a former teacher said, “She was a high achiever… She wanted to do well in everything she did. She had it all going for her; she had a bright future ahead of her.”
In 1989, when she was 18, Mandy left for school at Central Washington University. Her older sister says she was interested in becoming a commercial pilot.
2. She Went Missing on November 24, 1989
On November 24, 1989, Mandy went for a run in the late afternoon. She took her regular route– down Strand Road to the Nooksack River.
When Mandy did not return home for several hours, her mother panicked. In her testimony, Mary shares, “I was panicked. She was so consistent in what she always did, there was no reason for her not to come back.”
Kyra, the family’s dog who had accompanied Mandy on her run, eventually came home without Mandy. That’s when the family called the sheriff’s office.
Three days later, Mandy was found dead in the river, about three and a half miles from her home.
3. Timothy Bass Was Found Guilty in May 2019
On May 24, Timothy Bass was found guilty on the verdict of first-degree murder. In July, The Bellingham Herald reported that Bass will “spend almost three decades in prison… for kidnapping, raping and murdering the 18-year-old Amanda ‘Mandy’ Stavik nearly 30 years ago.” Bass was 22 at the time of Stavik’s death.
In court, special prosecuting attorney David McEachran said, “I’ve never seen (a case) that had an impact like this one did. People felt that they didn’t have a sense of safety. It was the realization that we’re not all that safe and that there was a monster who was really living among us.”
Bass’s mother took to the stand to share that her son received good grades in high school, “never caused trouble and worked hard at his job and college.” Sandra Bass added on, “He was found guilty in people’s minds way before the trial even started, and is being sent to prison on people’s emotions, not any real evidence. The prosecution wants to solve this case, even if they convict an innocent person…”
Bass was arrested in December 2017 after DNA collected from a plastic cup and Coke can he discarded matched the DNA taken from Stavik’s body.
4. A Co-Worker of Timothy Bass Helped Police Crack the Case
How did police get their hands on the Coke can belonging to Timothy Bass, to begin with? According to The Independent, police were searching the area of Bellingham, Washington, when they told an unnamed woman who was Bass’s coworker that the man was a suspect in the 1989 rape and murder of Mandy Stavik.
In court, the woman later testified, “After I asked if it was that case and who it was, I felt a basic human moral obligation to help…”
On August 10, 2017, the woman grabbed a plastic cup and a Coke can after Bass threw them away. The Independent writes, “She secretly grabbed both, put them in a Franz Bakery bag and handed them over to police. When the results came back from the state crime lab, Bass’s DNA from the soda and cup were a 1 in 11 quadrillion match to DNA recovered from the dead young woman, prosecutors say. On December 12, 2017, Bass was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.”
5. Mandy’s Running Route Went by Timothy Bass’s Home
Bass was not an initial suspect in 1989. However, according to The Independent, he refused to provide a DNA sample when police approached him.
Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo tells the outlet, “At the high school, [Bass] started attending the girls’s basketball games, and watching her play basketball. When Mandy jogged with her dog, the route that would take her past Timothy Bass’s residence.”
By 2013, Bass was named a suspect by the police. It wasn’t until authorities met Bass’s coworker did they capture the killer.
Bass, the outlet goes on to note, did not have a criminal record at the time. However, in August 2010, his wife reportedly filed a domestic violence order against him. “She alleged in court filings that he was both physically and verbally abusive to her and their three children.”
Be sure to tune into tonight’s episode of ABC News’ 20/20 tonight at 9pm ET/PT to learn more about Mandy Stavik’s case.