Suspect in 1989 murder near Bellingham faces new charge

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BELLINGHAM, Wash.  — A Whatcom County man accused of killing an 18-year-old woman in 1989 is now facing a first-degree rape charge in the case.

The Bellingham Herald reports that the charge was filed Tuesday by Whatcom County prosecuting attorney David McEachran.

The statute of limitations for adults for rape is three years, but McEachran said because Bass was identified through DNA evidence taken from Mandy Stavik’s body, prosecutors had a year from identifying Bass – in December – to file a rape charge.

He pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder after sheriff’s deputies arrested him Dec. 12.

Stavik vanished just after Thanksgiving 1989 while jogging near her home in Acme, east of Bellingham. She was home on break from her freshman year at Central Washington University.

A volunteer firefighter found her body during a search three days later in the South Fork of the Nooksack River.

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