Entries in John Wheeler (3)


John Wheeler's Cell Phone Found in House Under Construction

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- Police in Newark, Del., have recovered John Wheeler's cell phone in a house under construction across the street from his home in New Castle. Del., reported ABC affiliate WPVI in Philadelphia.

The ex-presidential appointee had filed a lawsuit, challenging the zoning approval for the neighboring house because it partially blocked his view of Battery Park and the Delaware River.

Police have been looking into the possibility that Wheeler may have set off smoke bombs in the house earlier last week.

Wheeler reportedly fought with a neighbor over the construction of the home. An attorney for that neighbor issued a statement saying his client was saddened by Wheeler's death.

Authorities have also interviewed a cab driver after finding his phone number on Wheeler's cell phone.

The driver, Athel Scott, said he doesn't know how his number got on Wheeler's phone, but he said he does remember seeing him.

"I seen him one day by the Hotel duPont and one day I seen him at the train station going inside that little store, that's all I know," Scott said.

Police also announced Friday they have uncovered more surveillance video from the night Wheeler was last seen alive. The video shows Wheeler leaving the Nemours Building in Wilmington, then walking down the street, passing through the Hotel duPont valet parking area further, before crossing over to Market Street.

In one portion of the video, the 66-year-old Wheeler appears confused as he held a shoe in one hand, and limping slightly. He is last seen on camera at 8:42 p.m. on Dec. 30.

Former homicide investigator Brad Garrett told ABC News, "So the, 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."

Wheeler's death remains a distressing mystery for his family and the police.

Investigators are continuing their efforts to talk to Wheeler's friends and associates, and are asking for the public's help. Meanwhile, Wheeler's family issued a statement Friday, thanking the police for their efforts:

"The family of John P. Wheeler III is most grateful for the efforts of the law enforcement authorities in the ongoing investigation into his death. The family is sincerely thankful for all the personal expressions of sympathy and condolences received from so many whose lives were touched by Jack in such positive ways. We reiterate our previous requests for privacy as we mourn his loss and ask that our decision to refrain from further comment at this time be respected."

Wheeler, a former presidential appointee and defense consultant, was found dead as his body was being dumped out of a dumpster into a Wilmington, Del. landfill on New Year's Eve.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Video Evidence Shows Dead Ex-Presidential Aide Disoriented

Photo Courtesy - ABC News (NEWARK, Del.) -- New video evidence in the death of Washington defense expert John Wheeler shows a man who was disoriented and disheveled.

The video, released by police Wednesday morning, shows Wheeler wandering around an office building lobby in downtown Wilmington, Del., holding a shoe in one hand and limping slightly.

Newark, Del., Police Lt. Mark Farrall said Wednesday that Wheeler refused help from several people who approached him as he wandered around the Nemours Building as late as 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 30.

Wheeler's body was found the following day, New Year's Eve, in a load of trash dumped at the Cherry Island landfill. Police are investigating the death as a homicide.

Police say the trash truck that dumped the body provided the first leads in the case. They traced the truck's route and it lead them back to a dumpster pickup route in nearby Newark.

Investigators say they have yet to determine the location where Wheeler died, but are hoping that the dumpsters may hold some forensic clues. Police said Monday they don't know where he was killed, why he was killed, or who may have killed him. Investigators continue to scour the landfill for leads.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ex-Presidential Aide's Body Found in Landfill

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEWARK, Del.) -- John Wheeler fought for dignity and honor for the fallen of the Vietnam War. That's why it is so sad and ironic, his friends say, that he himself would be murdered, and his body dumped with the garbage into a landfill not far from his home.

Wheeler's body was discovered New Year's Eve as it was being dropped from a Newark, Del. city dumpster into the Cherry Island landfill in Wilmington. An autopsy found that he was a victim of homicide, but police are not releasing any details of the medical report.

John "Jack" Wheeler was known as a man of honor: a West Point graduate, a Vietnam veteran, and the man who was the driving force behind financing the construction of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

He served three presidents -- Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, for whom he was a special assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force. He moved easily among Washington's elite, working most recently as a military consultant.

But the circumstances of his death are a mystery. Police said Monday they don't know where he was killed, why he was killed, or who may have killed him.

Investigators were back at the landfill Monday, scouring for leads.

"We have no suspects at this time," Lt. Mark Farrall of the Newark police told ABC News. "What's important now is to establish the location of the crime."

Farrall said that Wheeler, who has homes in Washington, D.C. and in New Castle, Del., was scheduled to take a train from Washington to Wilmington on Dec. 28.

But at this point, he said, police have no information about Wheeler's whereabouts that week.

"His family was traveling, so no one reported him missing," Farrall said.

Wheeler reportedly was in a running dispute with a neighbor who was building a house across the street from his home in New Castle. Wheeler filed suit to halt the construction, which partially blocked his view of the river.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio