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Ex-GOP Aide Sought to Borrow Train Fare at Law Firm Hours Before His Body Was Found at Landfill

Posted Jan 11, 2011 12:54 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A disoriented former aide to multiple Republican presidential administrations seen wandering around Wilmington, Del., in the days before his body was discovered at a landfill late last month made a stop at a local law firm, seeking to borrow train fare north.

However, when a receptionist at Connolly Bove Lodge and Hutch went to find someone to speak with John Wheeler III, he disappeared, reports the Wilmington News Journal.

The law firm is located in the Nemours building, where the Yale Law School graduate and defense consultant was caught on security footage wandering around in an apparent state of confusion hours later, on the evening before his body was spotted on a trash hauling vehicle at a local landfill on Dec. 31.

Although authorities have said Wheeler's death was a homicide, apparently reaching this conclusion because his body was picked up by the truck from a garbage dumpster, a private investigator tells the Philadelphia Inquirer that it might have been at least somewhat accidental.

The behavior of the 66-year-old Wheeler--who also was seen, not wearing a topcoat and carrying one shoe, looking for his car in the wrong parking garage a day--suggests that he might have suffered a stroke or a concussion, possibly as a result of being mugged, speculates William Fleisher of Keystone Intelligence Network in Philadelphia.

"He may have crawled into the dumpster looking for his briefcase, or simply to get warm," Fleisher says.

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Mystery Deepens re Ex-GOP Aide Yale Law Grad, Disoriented and Coatless Before Murder"

News-Journal: "For John Wheeler, house became an obsession"

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