John Wheeler, who spearheaded the campaign to fund the Vietnam war memorial and outspoken advocate for veteran’s rights has been found murdered, his body taken to a dumpster in Delaware. The incident has left many families of those he advocated for as well as his personal friends and families bereaved. But when someone so high profile is murdered after such a long and successful career, it’s certain to raise several questions. And the death of Wheeler is no exception.
At 5:00 PM, Wheeler was in complete control of his faculties. He wrote a post out on an internet forum to a friend about NCAA football. The post was a witty quip and showed that the Vietnam veteran and ex presidential aid was in a relaxed state of mind and could function normally. Time stamps from surveillance footage shows that by 6:42 he was speaking with a courthouse parking lot employee. As the hours turned to days, he was seen on December 30th disheveled and wearing different clothes in a building downtown from his home. After 8:30 that night police have been unable to place what happened to him in his final hours, but discovered him murdered and his body apparently hidden in a dumpster. This tragic end to a life that inspired so many is certainly a matter police are bound to take seriously. But the pieces to this puzzle don’t appear to be forthcoming.
And in the wake of the tragedy, many are theorizing that there was something more to his death that isn’t reaching major media attention. It’s often difficult to tell what the motives are in cases such as this and given his stature and history there’s plenty of room for conjecture. One theory proposed that the sudden death had a very strange timing with the equally mysterious death of thousands of birds in Beebee, Arkansas and the death of a hundred thousand fish there as well. With conspiracy theories coming from that side of the argument there’s no shortage of material suggesting Wheeler might have had a connection to whatever program caused the death and then was silenced when he threatened to blow the whistle on the project. The way Wheeler died, coupled with the claim of arson attacks on the house next door which he was involved in a lawsuit over seem curious, but it seems at this point the only truly questionable side to this is the fact that an awful lot of attention seems to be given to the lawsuit unfolding for Wheeler in regards to a lawsuit the veteran had with a neighbor. This angle to it seems at least at this point to be a red herring. It has no known connection to his disappearance.
Some media outlets are focusing on the fact that there was reportedly a “firebombing” at the property just a few days prior (in reality several smoke bombs were set off inside the residence, not firebombs.) And the idea that Wheeler himself might have set the firebombs has been proposed several times which simply doesn’t seem in keeping with his style or his character. Some have outright said this is a tactic used to discredit him, but this too seems more or less unfounded. Wheeler apparently reported having his suitcase stolen shortly before he disappeared, but the contents of that suitcase are largely still unknown. Whether the theft, his disappearance, the house next door, and his murder are related or not cannot be determined. The only thing we do know is that Wheeler’s death is a tragedy that we will be covering if any new details arise. And our hearts go out to those who are grieving the loss of this man who touched so many lives.