In 1989, A Case Closed Unsolved; 30-Years Later, A Coca-Cola Can Uncovers The Vital Clue Needed



It was Thanksgiving break when 18-year-old Mandy Stavik came back to her hometown of Acme, Washington. She had always felt that it was a safe and friendly place to live. On Black Friday Mandy decided to work off some of the previous day’s feast by going jogging with their dog.

Going For A Run

Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office

Mandy and Kyra, the family’s German Shepherd headed, out for a run. It was several hours later before Kyra showed up at the house alone. It became apparent that Mandy had gone missing. No-one knew that this would turn into a cold case that would span decades.


From the very beginning, Sherriff Bill Elfo was involved with the case. Mandy’s body was sadly found a few days after her disappearance. The evidence made it clear that they were dealing with homicide and assault. Despite the community trying to help and many possible suspects, none of their leads panned out.

Sticky Leads

Despite the fact that Mandy died in 1989, the case practically turned cold for 28 years. There was, however, one clue that kept the case alive despite almost three decades passing. The clue, in this case, was a suspect, a delivery truck driver named Timothy Bass.


In the spring of 2017, the police once again started to look at the Franz Bakery Outlet where Bass worked. They were once again looking for clues tying him to Stavik’s murder. They had unsuccessfully looked into that possibility in 2013 as well.


Four years after they last looked into that avenue of investigation, an unnamed female co-worker (let’s call her Emma), wondered why the police had been interested in Bass. After she asked the police why they had been interested in him, she learned the truth and starting thinking about what she would do if she were in Mandy’s mother’s shoes.

Brightest Star

ABC News

Emma knew that whoever did something so terrible needed to be brought to justice. Mandy had been a bright, young, rising star. She not only got good grades all throughout school, but she also excelled in various other activities such as basketball, softball, flute, clarinet, and saxophone.


Mandy was always an honor student who excelled at everything she put her mind to. She spoke several languages including Japanese and sign language. Taking all of this in made it seem like Mandy had a bright future ahead of her at Central Washington University.

Days Later


The search for Mandy started the moment Kyra returned home without her. They found an abandoned pair of green sweatpants, the same kind Mandy had been wearing, two days after she disappeared. On the 27th of November, her body was found floating in the Nooksack River. She was naked apart from socks and sneakers, making it clear she had been sexually assaulted.

What Really Happened


According to the autopsy, it was clear that she had drowned. While that might have been her cause of death but a blow to the back of her head made it clear that she had been unconscious before she ended up in the river. This also made it clear that she didn’t end up there by her own volition. A semen sample was also found on her body.

Too Many Tips

Sheriff Elfo and his team had over 7,000 leads and they dutifully tracked them all down. Sadly, none of them lead to anything. Many of the clues came from other parts of the U.S. Some even came from as far afield as Europe and China. The most likely one, however, was local, but there were many problems ahead of them still.


The team faced many obstacles and roadblocks that hampered their investigation. Weeks quickly turned into years. It was only late in the 2010’s that the police started to look into Timothy Bass again, and why Emma knew about their suspicions.

Morally Obliged

Emma’s bosses had refused to help the police in 2013. However, when Emma learned about the case she felt obligated to try to help them. She gave the police all the information on Bass that she could. Sadly, it wasn’t enough.

Work Lunch

When one of the police officers called her and asked her if Bass ever ate at work, she knew what to do. She’d watched many crime shows and immediately realized what they wanted. She immediately offered to help and in August she finally found her chance.

The Coke Can


Emma had noticed Bass throwing something in the trash. It was a Coke can and a plastic cup. After putting on some latex gloves and fished the trash out of the garbage can. She placed them in a Franz Bakery bag and handed them over to the police for forensic testing. It was several months later that the police finally had a breakthrough.