Amanda Stavik Went Jogging 20 Years Ago and Ended Up Naked and Dead
Amanda Teresa Stavik, 18, was home from her freshman year in college on Thanksgiving break when she decided to go for a jog. On November 24, 1989, she was wearing green sweat pants and a light-colored sweatshirt, and she had taken the family dog, a German shepherd with her. Several hours later, the dog returned to home in rural Whatcom County, Washington -- without her.
Amanda Stavik's nude body was found along the Nooksack River in Washington
Mandy, as she preferred to be called, was an athletic young woman who neighbors frequently saw jogging, rain or shine. She was described as intelligent and aggressive, and was known by her high school teachers as a leader who was not afraid to take chances...
After being reported missing by her family, a search for her began within hours. Because no trace of her was immediately found, investigators believe she was abducted. By the next day, people were searching for her on horseback, on foot, in cars, and from helicopters.
The search effort eventually involved every available deputy, according to Undersheriff Jeff Parks, a sergeant at the time. "For our agency at the time, it was an all-encompassing event," Parks said. "It was really an affront to all of us in the sheriff's office that this would ever occur."
Mandy's nude body was discovered three days later, about 3 1/2 miles from her home, discarded along a bank of the Nooksack River. Her murder struck a chord of fear and anguish in the community.
"It was awful," said the mother of a friend of Mandy's. "I just remember feeling totally sick. I think everyone in the valley felt she was one of our children."
Mandy and her family moved to the area some six years earlier, and was well-known in the area. She was musical--she enjoyed playing the saxophone--and belonged to her school's marching and jazz bands. She also played basketball and softball and was a member of her school's track team.
She graduated as an honors student and attended Central Washington University. She wanted to become an aircraft pilot, but later said she wanted to get into a field in which she could help others.
Although investigators aren't releasing all of the details, her death remains a mystery to this day. Although the cops do not know precisely where she was abducted, leaving them without a crime scene, they believe that she may have been alive when she entered the river. Those in a position to know say that her death was not inconsistent with drowning.
Sheriff Bill Elfo and Whatcom County Prosecutor Dave McEachran believe that the case is still solvable and refreshed efforts two years ago by attempting to develop new leads. According to McEachran, a few suspects have emerged over the years but there was never sufficient evidence to bring charges.
"I think the answer is there," McEachran said. "I think by the process of elimination, we'll get there."
Detectives are urging anyone with information about her death to contact the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office at (360) 676-6650, or to call the Sheriff's Office tip line at (360) 715-7459. Information can also be provided to detectives via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.