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Case Update - Robert James Wykel
The : Robert James Wykel
Robert James Wykel, missing since February 21, 1996 from King County, Washington
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Robert James Wykel
Above: Wykel, circa 1996
Information at the time of disappearance
Missing Since: February 21, 1996 from King County, Washington
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date of Birth: May 18, 1930
Age: 65 years old
Height and Weight: 5'11, 205 - 225 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Blond/brown hair, brown eyes. Wykel has a moustache and a receding hairline. His nickname is Bob.
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A white gold custom-designed ring with a 1.25 carat diamond on his left hand, and other jewelry. The diamond ring has several chips and abrasions.
Details of Disappearance
Wykel was last seen in King County, Washington on February 21, 1996. He had left home to buy a 1961 Ford Thunderbird, but never arrived. He was a retired sheet-metal worker and supplemented his income by buying classic cars, restoring them and reselling them for profit. Wykel often carried large sums of cash on his person, as he prefered to use cash in his business dealings. He probably had such a sum of money on him when he vanished, as much as $5,000, since he was going to purchase a car. He usually traveled via public transportation to inspect and purchase vehicles.
Wykel's 1989 Mercedes-Benz convertible coupe was discovered abandoned at a Park-N-Ride in Burien, Washington on March 11, 1996, and was towed. His wallet was inside and did not contain any cash. There was no sign of him at the scene. A friend reported Wykel as a missing person to authorities two days later on March 13, 1996, because he was concerned about the car being towed. It is uncharacteristic of Wykel to leave his vehicle in a parking lot for weeks at a time, and he usually left it in the care of his friend when he went on extended trips. He has never been heard from again. When investigators checked his home, they found his luggage and clothing there, and food rotting in the kitchen.
In February 2009, police arrested Myron C. Wynn, also known as Myron Holdredge, and charged him with first-degree murder in Wykel's case. Wynn was an acquaintance of Wykel and was the last person known to have seen him; it was he who told Wykel about the Ford Thunderbird that was for sale, and the two men went to look at the car together. He moved to Texas after Wykel's disappearance and was apprehended there. In 1996 following Wykel's disappearance, Wynn gave a large diamond to his girlfriend. He said he'd found it in the parking lot where Wykel's car was later recovered. In 1999, three years after Wykel vanished, police seized the stone from a relative of Wynn's. They believe it came from the ring Wykel wore on the day of his disappearance. The relative said she'd bought it from Wynn after he moved to Texas.
Authorities believe Wynn lured Wykel to a secluded location, robbed and murdered him. Wynn's defense attorney argued that the diamond they found wasn't Wykels and Wykel left of his own accord, possibly traveling to Argentina; he had been planning a trip to that country before he disappeared. The jury deliberated for three days, but they were unable to reach a verdict and the judge declared a mistrial in December 2010. Wynn was convicted at a second trial in April 2011. He was sentenced to twenty years in prison.
Wykel is described as a friendly, generous person who did not hestitate to strike up conversations with strangers. His family stated he looked and acted younger than his age in 1996 and would have fought back if he was attacked or robbed. He lived in Alaska and Illinois prior to moving to Washington several years prior to his disappearance. Foul play is suspected in Wykel's case due to the circumstances involved. His loved ones stated he enjoyed fishing, hunting and traveling in 1996.
Agency in Charge
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
King County Sheriff's Office
King County Sheriff's Office
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer