Who killed Jack Wheeler? All the theories behind Unsolved Mysteries’ case

Here's everything you need to know about the Unsolved Mysteries case.

John P Wheeler III Unsolved Mysteries

The first of the six latest episodes of Unsolved Mysteries focuses on the questions surrounding the death of John P Wheeler III in December 2010.


Wheeler, who was known as Jack, was the chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and a former presidential aide.

On 31st December 2010 his body was discovered in a landfill in Delaware, prompting an investigation into his death.

The state medical examiner’s office determined he had been killed by “blunt force trauma”, but questions about the final days of his life still remain.

One aspect of the case covered in the Netflix series which has intrigued viewers is the discovery of Wheeler’s phone.

Shortly after his body was found, the phone was found in a house which was under construction opposite his home.

Wheeler was said not to have seen eye-to-eye with the neighbour regarding the construction, with ABC News reporting the ex-political appointee had filed a lawsuit, challenging the zoning approval for the neighbouring house because it partially blocked the view from his house.

Meanwhile, law enforcement had also been investigating the possibility Wheeler was involved in an arson attempt at the house, though following his death they issued a statement through their attorney that they were saddened by the news.

The episode of Unsolved Mysteries also features CCTV footage taken at a parking garage in Wilmington, Delaware, two days before Wheeler was found dead.

The recording shows Wheeler appearing disoriented, wandering up and down a hallway carrying one shoe in his hand.

So, what exactly happened to Jack Wheeler? And what are the theories surrounding his death?

Here’s everything you need to know about the case featured in the Washington Insider Murder episode.

Who is Jack Wheeler?

John Parsons Wheeler III, also known as Jack Wheeler, held many roles over his lifetime.

Most notably, he was a chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and held a senior position for Amtrak.

He was also chief executive and CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving among other roles, and acted as an aide to the Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush administrations.

What happened to Jack Wheeler?

John P Wheeler Unsolved Mysteries
John P Wheeler III was found in a landfill

On December 31, Wheeler’s body was discovered by a landfill worker in the middle of a rubbish heap in the Cherry Island Landfill.

At the time, his death was ruled as a “homicide” as the police claimed “all the stops made Friday (December 31) by the garbage truck before it arrived at the landfill involved large commercial disposal bins in Newark (Delaware), several miles from Wheeler’s home”.

His last sighting was 14 miles away from Newark (Delaware), but at 11pm on the night of his last sighting, an eye witness said he shared a taxi with Wheeler to the city.

Wheeler’s neighbour, Ron Roark, said he rarely saw him but claimed there was always “loud television” on at his house. However, no-one appeared to be home.

There are many theories concerning what happened to Wheeler, concerning what he was doing on the night he disappeared and how he ended up at the landfill.

What are the theories behind Jack Wheeler’s death?

Armchair detectives have been on the John P Wheeler III case for years, with multiple Reddit threads dedicated to solving the incident.

Wheeler looked “disorientated” in a video 14 hours before his death

Following his death, a mysterious video emerged of Wheeler just days before his death.

The surveillance video from a Wilmington parking garage showed a seemingly disoriented Wheeler wandering around, coatless and confused with one ripped shoe.

In the footage, taken at 8:30pm, Wheeler told a parking attendant his briefcase was stolen and he was trying to get warm. He then paid for parking. However, according to reports in the AP, his car was later found in a different parking garage.

“I knew something wasn’t right,” said Iman Goldsborough, a parking-lot attendant who encountered Wheeler on December 29th 2010, “but I never thought it would end up like this.”


People have wondered what might have caused his behaviour in the video, with many concerned for his health. However, it’s not known whether Wheeler was unwell at the time of the clip.

Former homicide investigator Brad Garrett told ABC News: “So the, the question for investigators is, does it all really go together or is it pieces? When I say pieces, did he have a stroke, for example? Becomes disoriented, he wanders around. He hits into the wrong crowd. They kill him. They rob him, whatever they might do.”

Wheeler had “issues” with his neighbours, and then his phone was found in their house

Wheeler reportedly fought with a neighbour over the construction of their home. Following his death, an attorney for that neighbour issued a statement saying his client was saddened to hear the news.

According to abc news, the ex-presidential appointee had filed a lawsuit, challenging the zoning approval for the neighbouring house because it partially blocked his view of Battery Park and the Delaware River.

Police had been looking into the possibility that Wheeler may have been involved in an arson attempt at the home of the couple he had been battling in court.

On January 7th, 2011, recovered John Wheeler’s cell phone in the house under construction across the street from Wheeler’s home in New Castle. Del.

Police questioned a cab driver after finding his number in Wheeler’s phone

Authorities interviewed a cab driver after finding his phone number on Wheeler’s cell phone.

The driver, Athel Scott, said he didn’t know how his number got on Wheeler’s phone, however, he did remember seeing him.

“I seen him one day by the Hotel duPont and one day I seen him at the train station going inside that little store, that’s all I know,” Scott said.

Unsolved Mysteries volume 2 is available to stream on Netflix on October 19th. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best TV series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, visit our TV Guide, or find out about upcoming new TV shows 2020.

Find out more about the Unsolved Mysteries cases including JoAnn Matouk Romain, Jack Wheeler, Lester Eubanks, Jennifer Fairgate and the Stolen Kids.