Murder guilty verdict comes 15 years after Burien man’s disappearance
On the afternoon of April 6 a King County jury found Myron Wynn guilty of killing Bob Wykel, a Burien man who was 66 when he disappeared in February 1996.
Although Wykel’s body was never discovered, a mountain of circumstantial evidence was enough to convince the jury of Wynn’s guilt. This was the second trial for Wynn after a hung jury failed to come to a decision in December 2010.
Wykel, who was declared deceased in 2003 by the King County Medical Examiner, lived in Burien and spent most of his time purchasing, restoring and reselling classic cars after retiring as a sheet-metal worker, according to charging documents. He was known for always wearing a large diamond ring and never taking it off.
Around Feb. 21, 1996, Wykel told friends he was excited to check out a vintage Thunderbird an acquaintance had told him about. That acquaintance was Myron Wynn, who had “inserted himself into Wykel’s social group” who met at a Burien McDonald’s for morning coffee and good conversation. Wykel told a friend that Wynn had a line on a Thunderbird was being sold buy a soldier near Ft. Lewis.
February 21 was the last time anyone heard from Wykel. His abandoned Mercedes was found in the Burien Park and Ride parking lot on March 11, 1996 with no keys inside.
Wykel had withdrawn $5200 in his cash from his bank on Feb. 12, likely to pay for the Thunderbird he was interested in buying.
Charging documents show that detectives identified Wynn as their main person of interest in Wykel’s disappearance.
Although Wynn told police he had last seen Wykel on Feb. 20, through telephone records detectives discovered a call on Feb. 20 to Wynn’s stepfather at Mother Nature’s Acres in Thurston County, WA.
Detectives learned from Wynn’s sister, who also lived at Mother Nature’s Acres, that Wynn and a man fitting Wykel’s description had stopped by her house of Feb. 23. Wynn told his sister he and his friend were on their way to buy a Thunderbird and “had some time to kill.”
They left the Thurston County house around 3 p.m. on Feb. 23 and Wykel was never seen again.
The detective assigned to Wykel’s disappearance arranged several polygraph tests for Wynn which he habitually agreed to then avoided, then shortly thereafter he left for Texas. The detective retired in 1997 and Wykel’s disappearance became a cold case.
The diamond ring
In 1999 Det. Holland reopened the case and focused his investigation on the large diamond ring Wykel wore.
Wykel’s daughter described the ring to police and a gemologist, based on her account, concluded it was probably an old European cut diamond that was clearly visible in many pictures of Wykel.
Det. Holland interviewed Wynn’s ex-girlfriend from the time of Wykel’s disappearance and she told him Wynn had given her a large diamond necklace. She told police she thought it was a fake due to its size, that she didn’t know where it came from and that he took it back when she kicked him out of the house.
Wynn’s aunt told detectives he tried to sell her the diamond in 1997 for $1,500, telling her he bought it from a friend at work for $2500. She took the ring to a jeweler who appraised it at $3000 to $5000. She initially told detectives she was unimpressed and he took in with her. She later admitted she bought the diamond from Wynn for $2000 and handed it over to police. The diamond had many chips and abrasions and Wykel’s daughter said that made sense as he never took the ring off, even to work on cars.
Detectives called Wynn in Texas and confronted him with information regarding the diamond and his last contact with Wykel. At that time Wynn changed his story and told police he and Wykel had driven to Thurston County to see the car but when they called the seller he never picked up. Wynn said they drove back to Burien and that Wykel dropped him off. He said he couldn’t remember where he was dropped off and detectives said video surveillance (there wasn’t actually any video surveillance) showed them pulling into the Burien Park and Ride.
Wynn then changed his story on the diamond (he had said earlier he never had it in possession) and told detectives he found the ring on the ground at a bus stop at the Park and Ride.
Detectives traveled to Texas and confronted Wynn again, telling him Wykel’s DNA had been found on the diamond (in reality his DNA had not been found). Wynn said he remembered showing the diamond to Wykel after he found it and denied any involvement in his death.
They asked Wynn again to take a polygraph test and he said he would have to consult with his attorney first. A short while later he said his attorney told him not to take the test. When detectives asked for his lawyer’s name, Wynn replied, “Does it matter?”
Based on the above evidence, King County prosecutors charged Wynn with Wykel’s murder in 2009.
A sentencing date for Wynn has not been determined yet.