Morbid

Episode 470: The Murder of Mandy Stavik

June 22, 2023

In late November 1989, college freshman Mandy Stavik returned to her hometown of Acme, Washington to celebrate the holidays with her family. On the afternoon of November 24, the day after Thanksgiving, Mandy told her family she was going for a run. When she still hadn’t returned that evening, her mother became concerned and called around to her friends, but none had heard from her. When she still hadn’t returned the next morning, the panic set in, and the search began.


For three days, the residents of Acme, Washington undertook an increasingly desperate search for Mandy Stavik and were heartbroken when her body was eventually located in the shallow water of the Nooksack River. Local police began an intense investigation, but after months of dead ends and dwindling leads, the case wound down and eventually went cold.


Mandy Stavik’s death would likely have remained unsolved, were it not for a tenacious cold case detective, who in 2009 began running old DNA samples against samples collected from suspects over the last two decades.


Thank you to the fantastical David White for research assistance


References

Associated Press. 1989. "Amanda Stavik's brother also died tragically." Lewiston Tribune, December 1.

Ferm, Carol. 1989. "A flood of memories, a torrent of tears." The Bellingham Herald, December 3: 1.

—. 1989. "Community's sense of peace is shattered." The Bellingham Herald, November 29: 1.

—. 1989. "Family and friends keep a vigil of hope." The Bellingham Herald, November 26: 11.

—. 1989. "Loss angers, saddens classmate." The Bellingham Herald, November 29: 2.

—. 1989. "Reward offered." The Bellingham Herald, November 27: 1.

—. 1989. "Teen presumed kidnapped." The Bellingham Herald, November 26: 1.

Ferm, Carol, and Cathy Logg. 1989. "Search for missing teen continues." The Bellingham Herald, November 27: 1.

—. 1989. "Stavik's body found in Nooksack." The Bellingham Herald, November 28: 1.

Logg, Cathy. 1989. "Clues elusive in Stavki's death." The Bellingham Herald, November 29: 1.

—. 1989. "Investigators get many tips in Stavik case." The Bellingham Herald, December 1: 13.

—. 1989. "Police issue a warning about human predators." The Bellingham Herald, December 20: 11.

—. 1989. "Sheriff seeks pudgy-faced man for questioning in Stavik case." The Bellingham Herald, December 3: 13.

—. 1990. "Stavik case awaits tests." The Bellingham Herald, March 20: 1.

—. 1992. "Stavik 'suspect' files suit." The Bellingham Herald, March 21: 1.

—. 1990. "Garment ID'd tentatively as Mandy's." The Bellingham Press, January 28: 15.

Mittendorf, Robert. 2017. "Arrest in 1989 killing - sheriff credits DNA." The Bellingham Herald, December 14: A1.

Pratt, Denver. 2018. "Defense challenges DNA evidence in '89 slaying." The Bellingham Herald, August 11: A1.

—. 2019. "Defense in murder trial opening: 'No one knows what happened to Ms. Stavik'." The Bellingham Herald, May 11: A1.

—. 2017. "First-degree murder charge filed in 1989 kiling of Stavik." The Bellingham Herald, December 15: A1.

—. 2019. "'I wanted to do the right thing for Mandy,' Bass' co-worker testifies." The Bellingham Herald, May 17: A1.

Sirken, Alec. 2016. How two moms chatting at a water park helped crack a Thanksgiving cold case murder. July 16. Accessed May 18, 2023. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/mandy-stavik-case-how-two-moms-chatting-at-a-water-park-helped-crack-thanksgiving-cold-case-murder/.

State of Washington vs. Timothy Bass. 2021. 80156-2-I (The Court of Appeals for the State of Washington, June 1)


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