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Former Bush appointee found dead in landfill

posted 4 Jan 2011, 09:55 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 4 Jan 2011, 09:57 ]

Police are investigating the death of a former President George W. Bush appointee who has been found dead in a Delaware landfill.

NEWARK, DELAWARE POLICE HANDOUT- Police are investigating the mysterious death of a former Pentagon political appointee in President George W. Bush's administration.

The body of John P. Wheeler III, 66, was found dead in a Delaware landfill on New Year's Eve. Police are treating it as a homicide.

Wheeler's body was discovered falling off a truck into a trash pile by an employee at the Cherry Island Landfill in Wilmington on the morning of December 31, a Delaware police official said.

Police said the truck had collected trash from dumpsters in 10 locations in Newark. The body's position in the trash truck suggested the dumpster containing it was emptied at the beginning of the route, police said.

The Delaware medical examiner's office has ruled the death a homicide. The cause of death was not immediately released.

Wheeler, a resident of New Castle, Delaware was a special assistant to the Air Force Secretary in the Bush administration from 2005 to 2008, according to Air Force spokesman Maj. Joel Harper. The position is a political appointment but did not require Senate confirmation.

He also was a Vietnam War veteran and a defense contractor who worked in the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush as well.

He was also a past chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund which built the Washington memorial.