John P. Wheeler III’s Cause of Death: How Did He Die?

John P. Wheeler III

Youtube John P. Wheeler III

John P Wheeler III’s body was found after being dumped into a landfill in Wilmington, Delaware on December 31, 2010. The 66-year-old retired federal military consultant’s cause of death was ruled a homicide caused by blunt force trauma according to the New York Times.

But no one has ever been held accountable for Wheeler’s murder, and video surveillance in the days before Wheeler’s body was found deepen the mystery of what may have happened to the man who “held positions in the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush,” according to Wheeler’s obituary.

A man who said he was a friend of and had worked with Wheeler named James Fallows described him in The Atlantic as “generations-long military-officer heritage; West Point ’66 grad; service in Vietnam; then Harvard Business School and Yale Law School; and a rest-of-his-life effort to address what he called the “40-year open wound” of Vietnam-era soldiers being spurned by the society that sent them to war…He was chairman of the committee that got the Vietnam Veterans Memorial built.”

GettyFreddie Chase Sr, a 41 year retired US Navy veteran leans against the Vietnam memorial wall in front of the name of his son 11 November, 1999 in Washington, DC. Chase came to the wall on Veteran’s Day to remember his son Freddie, Jr, a helicopter pilot who was killed in Vietnam in 1969.

In the 1980s Wheeler was the chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, yet during its inception, the now revered memorial to those who were killed in the Vietnam War was strife with controversy and investigations into where the money being raised was really going, according to FBI Vault Files.

After the FBI cleared Wheely of any wrongdoing, “The Wall” today “provides one of the National Mall’s most powerful scenes,” according to the website, Washington D. C. The memorial has more than 58,000 names of those who were killed or went missing during the Vietnam war etched on its reflective surface.


Surveillance in the Days & Hours Before Wheeler’s Body Was Found in a Landfill Show Him Seeming Disoriented & Carrying Around 1 Shoe


Raw Video: Tape Shows Bush Aide Before DeathSurveillance video shows an apparently disoriented John Wheeler inside a Wilmington, Delaware office building. The former presidential aide was later found dead in a landfill. (Jan. 5)2011-01-05T17:54:49Z

According to CBS, “parking garage videos from Dec 29, two days before his death, showed him in a black suit with no tie, wearing only one shoe even though there was snow outside. He was carrying his other shoe.”

Delaware Online interviewed a parking lot attendant at the New Castle County Courthouse where video showed Wheeler walking inside the building carrying a shoe and talking to someone behind glass.

The employee said it was about 7 p.m. on December 29 when Wheeler came into where she was working, saying he wanted to get warm before he paid for his parking. She told Delaware Online, “I kind of found it strange because he didn’t have a coat on and he had one shoe in his hand,” but she told him he could get warm. The woman told Delaware Online:

I was talking to him I was asking like, what kind of car do you have? Where’s your ticket? He said his ticked was inside his briefcase. I asked where was his briefcase was at. He said his briefcase was stolen. He wasn’t slurring. There was no blood. He wasn’t staggering. He was just like kind of like shuffling along…He didn’t ask me to call the police. I asked him if he needed money or anything he said no. He didn’t look homeless.


Wheely’s Last Hours as Reported by Witnesses & Seen on Surveillance Tape Only Add to the Mystery of His Death

YoutubeCherry Hill landfill in Delaware where Wheely’s body was found only about 13 hours after he was last seen alive.

According to Delaware Online, Wheeler lived in Newcastle but went to Wilmington on a train on December 27. The last time he was seen alive was at about 8:30 p.m. on December 30 in the Nemours office building at 10th and Orange streets in downtown Wilmington CBS reported.

“Police say surveillance video showed him inside the building looking disoriented. He declined several offers for assistance. About 13 hours later Wheelers body was discovered at the Cherry Island landfill in Wilmington,” Delaware Online reported.

By the year anniversary of Wheely’s death, his case had gone cold.

ABC News interviewed former homicide investigator Brad Garrett in December 2011. He told them, “So the question for investigators is, does it all really go together or is it pieces? When I say pieces, did he have a stroke, for example? Becomes disoriented, he wanders around. He hits into the wrong crowd. They kill him. They rob him, whatever they might do.”

Whatever happened to Wheeler is still open to speculation, yet the coroner’s report determined blunt force trauma to be the cause of his death. The source of that trauma and who may have thrown the federal military consultant into a dumpster is still a mystery.

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