- Last year, a worker at a Franz Bakery Outlet in Bellingham, Washington, learned one of her co-workers, Timothy Bass, was a suspect in the 1989 rape and murder of 18-year-old Mandy Stavik.
- She stole a Coca Cola can that Bass discarded after lunch one day and handed it over to police to see if they could get DNA evidence from it.
- The DNA was a match for Stavik’s suspected rapist, and Bass is set to go to trial in April for her murder.
A bakery worker helped Washington state investigators finally make an arrest in a 28-year-old cold case murder.
Last year, the unnamed worker at Franz Bakery Outlet in Bellingham saw police come by her work asking around about co-worker Timothy Forrest Bass, 51, according to the Bellingham Herald.
She learned from a detective that Bass was a suspect in the November 1989 rape and murder of 18-year-old Mandy Stavik, whose naked body was found in a river a few miles from her home three days after she disappeared on a run.
Bass was not a suspect in 1989, but he came under suspicion in 2013, when cops launched an effort to collect voluntary DNA samples from Stavik’s neighbours, and he refused to take a swab, the Herald reported.
They tried to get his company to cooperate and help them collect DNA evidence that they could test against the samples obtained on Stavik’s body, but Franz declined, according to the newspaper.
When the worker learned all of this, she decided to take things into her own hands, having a daughter herself and feeling for the family.
On August 10, 2017, the worker reportedly saw Bass toss out a plastic cup and a Coke can. She retrieved it from the trash and handed it over to the police.
“After I asked if it was that case and who it was, I felt a basic human moral obligation to help,” the woman said during a court hearing in August, according to the Herald.
The cup and can were sent to the crime lab and the sample came back as a match, according to the newspaper.
At first, one of his public defenders, Stephen Jackson, tried to get the DNA evidence thrown out, saying that it violated his client’s Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure, and that his co-worker was acting as an agent of the state.
But a judge ruled in August that the evidence was allowed since the co-worker came up with the idea on her own. Jackson twice appealed the decision, but lost both times, most recently last Friday.
“I’m disappointed at the appellate court’s decision,” Jackson said Friday. “Now the focus is only on preparing for trial and showing that Mr. Bass had nothing to do with this case.”
Bass’ trial is slated to start on April 8. He entered a not guilty plea in February 2018, the Star-Telegram reported.
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