New video evidence in the death of Washington defense expert John Wheeler shows a man who was disoriented and disheveled.
The video, released by police Wednesday morning, shows Wheeler wandering around an office building lobby in downtown Wilmington, Del., holding a shoe in one hand, and limping slightly.
Newark, Del., Police Lt. Mark Farrall said Wednesday that Wheeler refused help from several people who approached him as he wandered around the Nemours Building as late as 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 30. Wheeler's body was found the following day, New Year's Eve, in a load of trash dumped at the Cherry Island landfill. Police are investigating the death as a homicide.
Police say the trash truck that dumped the body provided the first leads in the case. They traced the truck's route and it lead them back to a dumpster pickup route in nearby Newark.
Investigators say they have yet to determine the location where Wheeler died, but are hoping that the dumpsters may hold some forensic clues.
Wheeler, a 66-year-old resident of New Castle, Del., was in a bitter dispute with a neighbor over the construction of a home that blocked Wheeler's view of the Delaware Bay. Farrall said that is "one aspect" of the investigation, but not "a focus." An attorney for that neighbor issued a statement saying his client was saddened by Wheeler's death.
Wheeler was an Army officer during the Vietnam War. He served in the administrations of three Republican presidents: Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, for whom he was a special assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force.
Wheeler was a West Point graduate and helped spearhead the funding drive to get the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington built. He moved easily among Washington's elite, working most recently as a military consultant.
But the circumstances of his death are still a mystery. Police said Monday they don't know where he was killed, why he was killed, or who may have killed him.
Investigators continue to scour the landfill for leads.
"We have no suspects at this time," Farrall told ABC News. "What's important now is to establish the location of the crime."
Farrall said that Wheeler, who has homes in Washington, D.C., and in New Castle, was scheduled to take a train from Washington to Wilmington, Del., on Dec. 28.
But at this point, Farrall said, police have no information about Wheeler's whereabouts that week.
"His family was travelling, so no one reported him missing," Farrall said.
Wheeler's death has saddened many of his close friends, including former CIA Director James Woolsey and author James Fallows.
Fallows wrote a tribute to Wheeler in the Atlantic Magazine online, saying, "I feel terrible for his family and hope they will eventually find comfort in knowing how many important things he achieved."