Who was Ted Binion and what happened to his money?

IT’S been over 20 years since the murder of Las Vegas casino billionaire Ted Binion and investigators have still not been able to solve the case. 

On January 14, journalist Keith Morrison will revisit Binion's 1998 death on Dateline's What Happened in Vegas program. 

Who was Ted Binion?

Lonnie Theodore Binion – known as Ted Binion – was a gaming executive born on November 28, 1943, in Dallas, Texas.

He was the son of Benny Binion, the proprietor of Binion's Horseshoe in Las Vegas, which is now known as Binion's. 

Behind the scenes, the Binions were reported to be involved in a number of illicit operations. 

Ted, then 54, was discovered dead in his Vegas apartment in September 1998.

How did Ted Binion die?

On September 17, 1998, Ted was discovered dead on a little mattress on the floor of his Las Vegas estate property near Rancho Drive and Charleston Boulevard. 

Sandy Murphy, his girlfriend at the time, was the one who discovered his body and dialed 911. 

He had an empty Xanax bottle on his side and heroin paraphernalia in the bathroom when she allegedly found him, indicating that he may have died of an accidental overdose or suicide.

Murphy said that Ted had been depressed because he had lost his gaming license earlier that year, purportedly as a result of his family's involvement with organized crime.

Ted had fatal quantities of both Xanax and heroin in his body two weeks after his death, according to toxicology findings. 

But Ted’s friends and family were skeptical since they knew he only used Xanax to go off heroin and would not have taken them at the same time. He also exclusively smoked heroin rather than ingest it. 

Murphy became suspicious after police learned that Binion and Murphy had a tumultuous relationship. 

He had hired a private investigator to track her down before his death and discovered that she was cheating on him with his friend and business colleague Rick Tabish.

Binion's death was ultimately ruled a homicide in March 1999, and Murphy and Tabish were arrested for his murder two months later, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

In 2000, they were found guilty on all counts and sentenced to life in prison and the conviction was overturned in 2004.

What happened to Ted Binion’s money?

Bonnie, Ted's daughter, acquired a portion of the silver from her father's vault after his death and subsequent incarceration. 

She was also a prosecution witness who told private detective Tom Dillard about Sandy's actions.

Bonnie said that Sandy “threatened to hit me a lot of times. She would definitely get in my face. She would definitely scream at me… 

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“At first, she started doing it in front of my father, and then she started getting where she would wait ‘till he was gone and start speaking for him and putting me in a really bad position.”

According to reports, most of the treasure from Ted's vault has gone unclaimed at the courts. 

There have been allegations that Ted has hidden money and jewels around his estate, but there has been no evidence to back up that assertion. 

Bonnie stood to receive a large portion of her father's inheritance in addition to the contents of the vault.

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