DNA Found on Coke Can Leads to Arrest in Teen's 1989 Cold Case Murder
A Washington state family's three-decade search for closure following their daughter's murder may soon come to an end, thanks to DNA found on a Coke can, authorities said.
Mandy Stavik was just 18 when she disappeared while jogging on the day after Thanksgiving in 1989. Days later, the college freshman's body was found, but the ensuing investigation didn't lead to an arrest until this past Tuesday.
That's when police in Whatcom County arrested Timothy Bass, who lived nearby at the time of Stavik's murder.
Deputies forwarded DNA samples from Bass to the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory, which reported that the sample matched DNA recovered from Mandy’s body in 1989.
The lab determined that the chances of finding a match was 1 in 11 quadrillion.
Bass was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree rape.
Bass was reportedly a suspect for several years, but his DNA wasn't obtained until September when Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo says it was collected by Bass's co-worker at a bakery.
Whatcom County Prosecutor Dave McEachran said the co-worker gave detectives a plastic glass and Coke can Bass had drank from, according to the Bellingham Herald.
At the time of her murder, Mandy was a bright young first-year student at Central Washington University and was well-known in the east Whatcom County community, investigators said.
She would have celebrated her 46th birthday this year. Her brutal murder rocked the community and she is still well remembered by many.
Mandy's family has asked for privacy while they come to terms with the arrest.
"I would like to extend my appreciation to all the members of the Sheriff’s Office who have poured their hearts and souls into this case over the past three decades," Elfo said in a statement. "I would also like to thank the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory for their invaluable assistance over the years.
"The use of DNA in forensic science was relatively new in 1989 and the collection and safe storage over the years made the solving of this horrific crime possible."