The state medical examiner has cleared up one of the mysteries in the case of John Wheeler’s death: The former presidential adviser died of “blunt force trauma.”
Wheeler, whose body was found in a Dumpster at a Wilmington landfill on New Year’s Eve, was a Washington insider who led the fundraising for the Vietnam Memorial. An adviser to several U.S. presidents, he most recently worked for an engineering and information technology company that worked with the government.
The medical examiner’s ruling did nothing to answer the question of how Wheeler ended up in Newark, where he was caught on surveillance videos in the days before his death.
Lt. Mark Farrall of the Newark Police Department did not comment specifically on the cause of death.
“At this point,” he said, “the Newark Police Department is still investigating how Mr. Wheeler, who was last seen in Rodney Square in Wilmington, was transported to Newark and who is responsible, ultimately, for his murder.”
Little is known about what happened to Wheeler at the end of December. He was to have gone to Washington, D.C., on Dec. 28 but never showed up.
In the days before his death, surveillance video picked him up at various locations in Newark. He often looked confused and disheveled.
In some of the videos, he was wearing business clothes. In others, he was seen in a hooded sweatshirt. Witnesses reported that in one incident he appeared confused and was holding one of his shoes. A cab driver who saw him told the News Journal he seemed absolutely fine.
Wheeler’s family has asked for privacy and has not commented on the latest information.