Crime

Mob Museum in Las Vegas Hosts Presentation on Kevyn Wynn Kidnapping

The federal prosecutor who worked to put Kevyn Wynn’s 1993 kidnappers behind bars is set to speak Thursday at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. Kevyn Wynn is the daughter of casino mogul Steve Wynn.

Kevyn Wynn is seen here in a photo that KSNV-TV used in a recent story about her 1993 kidnapping. She was released unharmed. (Image: KSNV-TV)

Tom O’Connell, a retired US attorney, is headlining a Mob Museum presentation titled “Vegas Abduction: The Inside Story of the Kevyn Wynn Kidnapping.” O’Connell was the lead prosecutor in the case. He is host of a six-part podcast, Vegas Fed, on the Wynn kidnapping.

Tickets to the event are sold out. However, the museum is providing a free livestream on its website, themobmuseum.org. The presentation begins at 7 pm PST.

The kidnapping, involving a prominent area family, stands as a major story in Las Vegas criminal history. In late 1989, about four years before his daughter was abducted, Steve Wynn held a high-profile grand opening for the Mirage Las Vegas. The Mirage, now owned by MGM Resorts, is considered the first megaresort on the Strip.

In 1993, Kevyn Wynn worked in retail operations for Mirage Resorts. She was 26.

‘Please Don’t Hurt Me’

The incident began when she returned to her condominium the night of July 26, 1993. Earlier, she had finished her job duties and worked out in the Mirage gym. She dined with family members before going home, according to news accounts. 

At her condo, masked kidnappers confronted her at gunpoint. The kidnappers bound her and taped her eyes. They forced her to pose for pictures in her underwear. The men threatened to release the pictures publicly if her father called the police, according to newspaper stories.

Wynn later said she thought she would be raped.

I said, ‘Please don’t hurt me. Please don’t hurt me,’” she said. “I was shaking. I was petrified.”

Alerted to what had happened, Steve Wynn went from his home to the Mirage. Over the telephone, a kidnapper demanded $2.5 million. Wynn said the casino vault had $1.45 million in $100 bills that night, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Wynn left the casino with new money “stacked like bricks” in a white plastic bag, the newspaper reported.

“It was heavy,” Wynn said. “I held it like a baby with my arms around it.”

After an employee dropped the money off at Sonny’s Saloon nearby, Wynn learned where he could find his daughter. He located her in a parking lot at McCarran International Airport. She was in her black, late-model Audi.

“I called her name,” Wynn said. “From the back seat of the car, she said, ‘Dad, is that really you?’ ”

She was bound but unharmed. She had been held captive for more than two hours.

Kidnappers Convicted

Days after the abduction, the man accused of masterminding the crime, Ray Marion Cuddy, was taken into custody at a luxury car dealership in Newport Beach, Calif. He was there to pay a $70,000 installment on a $183,000 Ferrari, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Two other suspects, Jacob Sherwood and Anthony Watkins, were arrested a short time later. 

In May 1994, a federal grand jury convicted Cuddy and Sherwood of extortion, money laundering, and other crimes.

Cuddy, a former circus performer, was sentenced to 24 years and five months in prison. Sherwood was handed a 19-year prison term. Watkins cooperated with authorities. He was sentenced to six and a half years in prison.

This is the second recent sold-out event at the Mob Museum exploring an earlier era in Las Vegas casino history. Screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi and former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman were participants in a discussion at the museum in November on the 1995 Las Vegas Mafia movie Casino.

Larry Henry

Gaming Regulation, Crime, Politics — Larry Henry is a veteran print and broadcast journalist who spent more than 16 years in Nevada, including serving as legislative reporter for the Reno Gazette-Journal and as political editor at the Las Vegas Sun. He's also written about popular culture for the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. As a broadcast journalist, he worked as managing editor at KFSM-TV, the CBS affiliate in Arkansas, where he now lives and where casino growth is a hot topic. A Marine Corps veteran and LSU graduate, he is also an avid movie fan, especially of classic film noir from the 1940s and ’50s.

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Larry Henry