I remember how suspicious this sounded when the news first broke, but then the story quickly disappeared from the news as if it was being buried. I
don't remember ever hearing any follow-up on this, but it sure sounds like some kind of political murder to me. His long time in service and position
in the Pentagon could easily have made him privy to information others would want to cover up. Does anyone know anything more about this?
Mystery of Pentagon official’s body found in dump enthralls D.C.
Published On Tue Jan 04 2011
John P. Wheeler, a Vietnam veteran and current defence consultant for the U.S., was found dead Dec. 31, 2010, at the Cherry Island Landfill in
WASHINGTON—It’s a murder mystery seemingly borrowed from a political potboiler: a former Pentagon official, West Point cadet and general’s aide
meeting a brutally undignified end, his body discovered as it jutted out of a garbage truck dumping trash into a landfill site.
Like the suicide of Bill Clinton adviser Vince Foster almost two decades ago and the disappearance of intern Chandra Levy in 2001, the U.S. capital is
once again transfixed by a crime story with political underpinnings.
This time, it’s the death of 66-year-old John P. Wheeler, the driving force behind the Vietnam War memorial in the 1980s and an operative in the
last three Republican administrations.
Wheeler’s body was found on New Year’s Eve in a landfill site in Delaware, after it was dumped into a garbage bin in east-end Newark, Del.
After booking a Dec. 28 Amtrak ticket from Washington to Wilmington, Del., ostensibly to head home to nearby New Castle for New Year’s, the Harvard
Business School grad hadn’t been seen or heard from until a sanitation worker spotted his body in the garbage truck.
Speculation has been rampant: Eyebrows have been raised at revelations Wheeler’s third wife was travelling overseas at the time of his
disappearance, so no missing persons report was filed immediately. His lawyer, meantime, says he’s been locked in a legal dispute with neighbours
over a proposed addition to their house that would block his view of the Delaware River.
Police were back at the landfill site Tuesday, scouring it for clues. Investigators were also reportedly focusing on the whereabouts of Wheeler’s
car, which may have been left in Wilmington, Del., after he got off the train.
Originally, investigators said Wheeler was last seen around noon on Dec. 28 disembarking from the train. But on Tuesday, they said he was last seen
alive two days later, in downtown Wilmington on Thursday afternoon, the day before his body was found.
Friends and neighbours have expressed utter bewilderment.
“The more you think about it, the more implausible it becomes,” 85-year-old neighbour Robert Meadus said. “It’s a Perry Mason thing for
Another neighbour said a TV set had been blaring at Wheeler’s house for much of the holiday period, even though it was clear no one was inside.
James Fallows, a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine, was a close friend of Wheeler’s.
“He was a complicated man of very intense (and sometimes changeable) friendships, passions, and causes,” he wrote. “I have no idea what kind of
trouble he may have encountered . . . I feel terrible for his family and hope they will eventually find comfort in knowing how many important things
Wheeler’s family released a short statement earlier this week through the Newark police.
“As you must appreciate, this is a tragic time for the family. We are grieving our loss. Please understand that the family has no further comment at
this time. We trust that everyone will respect the family’s privacy,” the statement said.
Wheeler was well known in D.C., dubbed an “outer planet” in the city’s solar system of mighty power brokers. He was a special assistant to the
secretary of the Air Force under George W. Bush, but was most famous for raising $11 million to build the famous Vietnam memorial on the National