Welcome to Current TV
John Wheeler Died From 'Blunt Force Trauma. Officials Say He Was Beaten To Death.
John Wheeler III, a defense consultant and former Pentagon official who was seen stumbling around Wilmington, Del., and acting strangely days before his body was found in a landfill, was beaten to death, the state medical examiner's office says.
Wheeler "died as a result of blunt force trauma after being assaulted," the Delaware medical examiner's office announced Friday. Police said the case remains under investigation.
Wheeler, 66, worked for three U.S. presidents and was an expert on chemical and biological weapons. His body was found in a load of garbage picked up in Newark that was dumped at a Wilmington landfill on New Year's Eve, and his death quickly was ruled a homicide. Authorities, however, refrained from releasing a cause of death until this week's announcement, saying they were awaiting the results of toxicology reports.
Although the finding clarifies the cause of his death, there are still many unanswered questions.
"We're still attempting to determine how he made his way to Newark and who is responsible for his murder," Newark police spokesman Lt. Mark Farrall told the Wilmington News Journal. "How he got the injuries, I just don't know."
The sanitation truck unloading the garbage containing Wheeler's body had picked up the trash from metal bins in Newark, which is why Newark police are leading the investigation. The FBI and other agencies are also assisting.
Wheeler lived in New Castle, Del. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy and served as an adviser to presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. Wheeler, who served in Vietnam, also was chair of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Fund that led the effort to build the memorial wall in Washington.
Most recently, he worked as a part-time consultant for the MITRE Corp., a not-for-profit organization that provides information technology services to the federal government.
According to Newark police, Wheeler was on a train from Washington, D.C., to Wilmington on Dec. 28. Police say he was last seen in Wilmington on Dec. 30, when surveillance video shows him at a downtown building where he asked for train fare at a law firm. The last image of him showed Wheeler walking toward a high-crime neighborhood.
Witnesses described him as acting strangely and appearing disoriented in the previous days. A Wilmington parking lot attendant said that on Dec. 29, he stumbled into her garage.
"It striked me as being odd because he had one shoe in his hand and no coat on," the attendant, Iman Goldsborough, told CNN.
A neighbor who had seen him on Christmas Eve said Wheeler's condition on the surveillance tape was out of character and shocking.
"I have never seen him like that in my life," Robert Dill told CBS News earlier this month. "I have no idea. At this point, I couldn't even give you a theory."
more from Community:
from the community