Wednesday, February 16, 2011

John Wheeler Homicide Investigation Turns Toward Victim's Home

John P. Wheeler

An investigation into the death of a former Bush-administration official focused yesterday on the victim's home. (See video below.)

The body of John P. Wheeler was discovered on New Year's Eve in a landfill near Wilmington, Delaware. Law-enforcement officials quickly ruled the death a homicide and recently said Wheeler had been beaten to death, a victim of blunt-force trauma.

Wheeler served under three presidents and was a driving force behind development of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Investigators spent about three hours yesterday in Wheeler's home. Reports

Police crime scene investigators descended on the New Castle home of slain former Pentagon official John P. Wheeler III today, spending about three hours inside and leaving in five vehicles with a large paper bag and several manila envelopes stuffed with suspected evidence.

A marked Newark police crime scene van and four other unmarked vehicles were parked in the driveway of Wheeler’s home in the 100 block of W. 3rd St., and left in a caravan about 2:45 p.m.

Many questions remain about Wheeler's death, and authorities were tight-lipped yesterday:

Wheeler’s body was discovered when it was dumped into the Cherry Island landfill in Wilmington on Dec. 31.

He was spotted the two previous nights, appearing disoriented and befuddled, in a Wilmington parking garage on Dec. 29 and the Nemours Building on Dec. 31. He was last seen walking toward Wilmington’s East Side at 8:42 that night.

Mark Farrall is spokesman for the Newark, Delaware, Police Department, which is leading a multi-force investigation:

Newark police, who are leading a multi-force investigation that includes the FBI, have said Wheeler was placed into a commercial trash bin in Newark that was emptied Dec. 31 by a garbage hauler that transported its contents to the Wilmington landfill.

Farrall reiterated today that police have not yet pinpointed which one of the 10 trash bins that were emptied that morning held Wheeler’s body, and that investigators have no suspects.

Yesterday's news raises a couple of obvious questions:

* Why did authorities wait roughly a month and a half to conduct a thorough search of Wheeler's home?

* With authorities seeking evidence at Wheeler's home, does that mean he probably was not the victim of a random mugging?

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