DOVER, Del. -- A military expert who served three Republican presidents and helped get the Vietnam Veterans Memorial built as part of his dedication to those who fought in that war was found dead in a landfill, and authorities were trying to piece together when he was last seen alive.
The body of John Wheeler III, 66, was uncovered Friday when a garbage truck emptied its contents at the Cherry Island landfill in Wilmington. The truck had collected the trash from about 10 commercial disposal bins in Newark, several miles from Wheeler's home in the historic district of New Castle, but police said they aren't sure which container his body came from.
Friends say they traded e-mails with Wheeler - who had not been reported missing - around Christmas. Wheeler also had been scheduled to take an Amtrak train from Washington to Wilmington on Dec. 28, but it's not clear if he ever made the trip, said investigators, who have labeled Wheeler's death a homicide.
Family members may not have reported him missing because they were out of town, Newark police spokesman Lt. Mark Farrall said.
Efforts by The Associated Press to contact his wife, Katherine Klyce, were unsuccessful, but his family issued a statement through the police department.
"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."
Wheeler followed in his decorated father's footsteps and attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. After graduating in 1966, in the midst of the Vietnam War, he served five years in the Army, including as a staff officer at the Pentagon, and retired from the military in 1971.
In later years, Wheeler, as special assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force at the Pentagon during the George W. Bush administration, helped develop the Air Force Cyber Command. A citation for his service in 2008 said Wheeler recognized that the military needed to combat the growing vulnerability of U.S. weapon systems to cyber intrusions, according to his biography.
Longtime friend and fellow West Point graduate Richard Radez said that in an e-mail the day after Christmas, Wheeler wrote he believed the nation wasn't sufficiently prepared for cyber warfare.
"This was something that had preoccupied him over the last couple of years," Radez said.
Wheeler's house in New Castle was dark Monday night and no one answered the door. Yellow police evidence tape was stretched across two wooden chairs in the kitchen, where several wooden floorboards were missing. A woman who lives next door to the duplex refused to talk about the case, saying she had been asked not to comment. She did not provide details.
Though the police have searched the home, it was not considered a crime scene, Farrall said.
"We don't have a crime scene at this point," said Farrall.
In New York City, a doorman at the building where Wheeler and Klyce shared a condominium, said he hadn't seen Klyce in two weeks and a package for her had been at the front desk for days. He said two detectives were at the condo in the Harlem section of the city.
New York City police said they couldn't immediately confirm that they were involved in the investigation. Telephone messages left for Klyce at the New Castle home were not immediately returned.
This is not just a little "pimple" on the face of America - there probably is a story here large enough to take over the news, congressional investigations, and a large group of behind the scenes being exposed and prosecuted - this is a " The Deeper it Gets, - this little pimple - the bigger the "Tumor" that is generating it.
Mabye it has to do with Wiki-leaks - Lots of "Dark Men and Women" involved - and how shall america follow this.... Stay tuned!!!!