The Doe Network:
Case File 1444DMWA


Robert J. Wykel
Missing since February 21, 1996 from Burien, King County, Washington
Classification: Endangered Missing

Vital Statistics

Circumstances of Disappearance
Wykel was last seen while shopping for a classic car in Pierce County, Washington on February 21, 1996.
Wykel was a dealer of vintage and exotic cars. He may have been carrying $5,000 in cash at the time.
Wykel told neighbors about a Thunderbird he might buy when they saw him last on February 21, 1996. Neighbors had gathered that night for their weekly poker game.

Wykel was reported missing by a friend on March 13, 1996 because he had not been seen or heard from since February 21, 1996. The last confirmed sighting of Wykel was when he made a bid on a car at a Seattle auto auction, but didn't get the vehicle.
Mr. Wykel was known to travel via public transit to inspect or purchase vehicles and was known to carry several thousand dollars in cash on him.
Mr. Wykel's 1989 Mercedes Benz was discovered in a Burien Park N' Ride on March 11, 1996.

He may have left his car at the Park and Ride, which was typical if he planned to buy a car in the area. He would take the bus to the seller, buy the car and drive it home. But Wykel was also known to go far and wide for a car. So the police isn't discounting that he might have gone outside King County. It was unusual, however, for Wykel to leave for long without telling neighbors. And he would not have left his $30,000 car in a lot for weeks. Wykel would fly out to Illinois or California to buy a classic car, then drive it back to Burien.

Bob Wykel was described as a friendly, jolly man. He liked chatting up strangers, especially to  talk about his two favorite subjects: cars and hunting. He looked younger than his age and acted younger still. Wykel hunted, fished and traveled, but his passion was restoring classic cars. He had been around the world in search of big-game trophies. He is known to frequent swap meets and garage sales to find a deal.

Wykel moved to the Seattle area several years before his disappearance. He had been a sheet-metal worker and owned a restaurant in Illinois. He had also worked on the Alaska pipeline.
Wykel never went very long without returning telephone calls to his children. At the time of his disappearance Wykel was planning a family reunion with his children.
There's been no activity on his bank accounts.
Foul play is suspected.

If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:

King County Sheriff's Office
Major Crimes Unit
Detective Earl Tripp

Agency Case Number: 96-082826

Source Information:
King County Sheriff's Office
The Seattle Times - 2/28/00
The News Tribune - 2/26/00
Washington State Missing Persons

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