John Wheeler’s body was found last week in a Delaware dump, and that may be among the lesser oddities in the case involving the former aide to three Republican presidents. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that police are investigating Wheeler’s possible role in arson involving a couple with whom he had been feuding in court. Meanwhile, Fox News shows surveillance video of Wheeler — the last sighting of him — wandering aimlessly through a Wilmington office building not far from where his body was found:
After working at Mitre on Dec. 28, Wheeler is believed to have taken a train from Washington to Wilmington. That night, police said, smoke-bomb devices were set off in an unfinished New Castle home across from Wheeler’s that belongs to a couple with whom he was long embroiled in a court battle over the dimensions of the house.
On Dec. 13, a Chancery Court judge denied Wheeler’s application for a temporary restraining order. Wheeler’s lawyer, Bayard Marin, has said he last spoke to Wheeler on Dec. 27 – the day before the arson attempt.
Marin doubted the dispute had anything to do with Wheeler’s death. He declined on Wednesday to comment further.
On Dec. 29, Wheeler turned up at a pharmacy in New Castle at 6 p.m. and asked the pharmacist for a ride to Wilmington, the Wilmington News Journal reported. The pharmacist, who declined comment Wednesday, told the newspaper that Wheeler looked “different” and “a little upset.” He said he offered to call a cab, but Wheeler refused and left.
About 30 minutes later, Wheeler entered the parking garage attached to the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, about seven miles from the pharmacy. How he got there has not been explained.
According to the Inquirer, witnesses say that Wheeler told them he had been robbed and spoke of the recent death of his mother. However, she died several years ago, according to the paper. His car had been towed, not stolen. The witnesses offered to call police and loan him some money, but Wheeler apparently refused both, saying he had $120 on him and didn’t need the police.
A coroner’s inquest will be presumably forthcoming, and very enlightening. Could it be that Wheeler just got into a dumpster on his own and died in it without anyone noticing? It would hardly be the oddest development in a case that looks stranger by the day.