A break in the 1996 disappearance and likely slaying of a Burien man came after detectives were led to a suspect through a distinctive diamond once owned by the victim, the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office said Wednesday.

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A break in the 1996 disappearance and likely slaying of a Burien man came after detectives were led to a suspect through a distinctive diamond once owned by the victim, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.

Myron Clark Wynn was charged Monday with first-degree murder in King County Superior Court, and was arrested one day later in Texas. He is being held on $1 million bail pending extradition proceedings to return him to King County.

Robert Wykel, a 66-year-old retired sheet-metal worker and restaurant owner, disappeared in February 1996 after telling friends he was going to check out a vintage Thunderbird, according to court documents. Wykel supplemented his retirement income by restoring classic cars, charging papers said, and he withdrew $5,200 cash from the bank.

Wykel was never seen again.

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His friends and daughter long suspected Wynn, a man who befriended Wykel over breakfast at a McDonald’s restaurant in Burien. Wykel was last seen with him at Mother Nature’s Acres, a resort in Thurston County owned by Wynn’s sister, court documents said.

Wykel’s car was found abandoned in a Burien park-and-ride lot.

King County sheriff’s detectives reopened the case in 1999 and connected Wynn to the slaying through an old European-cut diamond, according to court documents. Wykel had a custom-designed ring with the distinctive diamond that he never removed, charging papers said.

Wynn’s ex-girlfriend said he gave her a necklace with an unusual diamond as a gift in 1996, the same year Wykel disappeared, according to court documents.

The necklace was not packaged in a jewelry-store box. Wynn told her he found the stone at a bus stop in Burien, the same stop where Wykel’s car was found abandoned, court documents said.

Wynn later took the stone back when they broke up and sold it to his aunt, according to charging papers.

Detectives recovered the diamond from Wynn’s aunt and had it appraised, court documents said. The 1.28-carat diamond was worth $5,000 and had several chips and abrasions, according to the charging papers.

Wykel’s daughter told detectives the ring would be banged up because her father wore it even when he was working on cars, according to the charging papers.

Court papers don’t specify why it took so long to make an arrest in the case.

Wynn, who also goes by aliases Myron Holdredge Jr. and Michael C. Wynn, is being held in jail in Texas. According to prosecutors, he has prior convictions for driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license and misdemeanor assault.

Sharon Pian Chan: 206-464-2958 or schan@seattletimes.com