College student Mandy Stavik found dead, but case goes cold for years: Part 1

Stavik, who was from a rural town in Washington, was missing for three days before her body was found. Authorities wouldn't have their main suspect until 28 years later.
8:53 | 09/21/19

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Transcript for College student Mandy Stavik found dead, but case goes cold for years: Part 1
Here again, juju Chang. The story of Mandy is the story of a young woman's disappearance from a tight-knit, rural community. It's the story of a family devastated and a whole community devastated. It was a big deal. I was initially appointed sheriff in 2003. I went out and spoke with Mandy's mother, Mary, and told her that I was going to make every effort, that we would solve this case. I don't think I ever believed, ever, that they would catch the guy. The murder of Mandy was a mystery. A decades-old cold case that left a small community on edge. It was so out of the realm of anything we could have ever expected. Only solved by the combined determine's of loved ones, law enforcement, even strangers. The unexpected, every day item that would crack everything wide open nearly 30 years later and the shocking revelation of who committed the crime. Couldn't possibly imagine it would be somebody we knew. The family lived out in acme, a little tiny town down highway 9 in rural Watkin county. It's rural. Not a lot out there, open roads, lots of cows. You knew your neighbor. You talked to your neighbor. Everyone that lived out there, even today, knows about Mandy stavik, and what happened to her. Mandy had just graduated from high school. She was in her first year at central Washington, at university. She came home for Thanksgiving break. Mandy left her home on the day after Thanksgiving, 1989. She wanted to get in a run. It was kind of in the late afternoon. She had a daily route that she used to jog that took her down the road that her house was on, on strand road, down to the river and back. She went with their dog, Kyra, a German shepherd dog. It was an older dog but very protective of Mandy. I was panicked the minute she didn't get home on time. And I was doubly panicked a few minutes later and the dog was there and she wasn't. Any kind of missing person call is a 911 call. It requires immediate response. And a deputy will go out and talk to the reporting party. In any investigation like this you're going to look at boyfriends, anybody they might have had trouble with. Mandy's boy friend was cleared after he gave a police statement. In any investigation like this you'd have to figure out who Mandy was, what she was about. She was very everything. I don't know whether there are words to describe her. Mandy loved anything athletic. She could do things that I could never do. She could jump on a horse bare back and take off running across the field. She loved softball, she loved track. She loved baseball. She loved basketball. Everybody liked her, so she wasn't the typical student that, you know, may have one or two enemies. The search went on for three days. She was found on the third day. Mandy was found on the south fork of the river, probably close to five and a half, six miles from her house. There was a bend in the river and some debris, and the body was just hung up in the debris there. I saw her body, she was face down. She was just kind of suspended, just a little bit off the bottom. There was a branch there that was some debris that prevented her from floating any further downstream. She was naked except for shoes and socks on. The tennis shoes match the description. The detective that was with me dispatched himself in a quick fashion to get to the family home to let her know we had found her. I wouldn't wish this on even my worst enemy. There is nothing worse, there's nothing worse than losing a child. The medical examiner determined Mandy's cause of death to be drowning. She'd suffered a head injury and had been sexually assaulted. They took DNA evidence from Mandy's body. They created a DNA profile of both Mandy and an unknown male. Time and time again, they would have a person of interest. They would question that person. But something would rule them out. They had a good alibi, or ultimately, their DNA did not match. This case dragged on. Becomes a cold case. But after, you know, ten, 15, 20 years, you say ah, it's never going to be solved. Reporter: In 2013, a tip draws investigators' attention to Mandy's former neighbor, Tim bass. The case had never, never left the thoughts of Mandy's friends. So two women were talking about the case and talking about what a strange person Tim bass was. And they decided, we should talk to the sheriff's office. They should look at him. Tim bass came up as a suspect. In 1989, Tim bass lived on one side of highway 9 on strand road. And Mandy lived on the other. He was a loner. He was a loner. He was quiet. My impression was he was kind of an odd ball. He moved out of the area shortly after the murder. It was in January of 1990. He had quickly gotten married and moved to Everson. I'm Gina Malone and Tim bass used to be my husband. He was very controlling and always told me what to do, what I could wear, what I couldn't wear. Who I could talk to. Who I couldn't talk to. Whenever he'd get mad, he would, like, come towards me like this with his fist. He did shove me against the bathroom wall once. And bruised my back. 2010, Gina had filed for a domestic violence protection order. That case was later closed, because she rescinded the domestic violence order, and they stayed married. Reporter: When detectives visited Gina and Tim in their home they asked Tim to give a DNA sample. Tim said he wasn't going to give us a DNA, that he didn't trust the police, and it's kind of like, okay, what's plan B. 2017, since I didn't get a sample, we knew we'd have to do it surreptitiously. He was a route delivery person for Franz breads. We wasn't to Franz and I met Wagner for the first time. I met Tim bass when he came to work with me. Reporter: If detectives could acquire an every day item with his DNA on it, they could run it through the lab to see if it matched the DNA found on Mandy's body. I said you want a water bottle? I can get you a water bottle. I need to know. We can't tell a person to get evidence for us. But if they were to bring something to us, we could take that from them and use that. That's not against the law. Nobody asked me to do it, I 100% volunteered to do it. If something happened to my daughter, I'd want someone to help me, and the thought of her mom never having the answer of who did that to her daughter, if coy help her find that peace, I wanted to do it. She watched Tim. They got a water cooler at their office. And he drank out of a plastic cup and threw it away. He threw it in the garbage in front of me, walked past into the bathroom, and I looked in the garbage, and my heart was like, hmm, beating out of my chest. And I grabbed it, and I put it in my desk drawer. I think I waited a little bit, and I texted the detective. I couldn't get it back to the office quick enough and down to the lab quick enough to have it tested. Reporter: But would Tim bass be a match? And would Mandy's mother find the justice she's seeking?

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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