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Prominent veteran found in landfill

NEWARK, Del., Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Delaware police say they have identified a body found in a landfill as a former West Point graduate and chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

Newark, Del., police say about 10 a.m. Friday a trash worker spotted the body of 66-year-old John P. Wheeler III of New Castle, Del., falling from a Waste Management vehicle onto a trash heap.

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Identification was still on the victim's body, enabling police to determine Wheeler's identity, the Wilmington News Journal reported Monday.

Police have ruled Wheeler's death a homicide but have not released the cause of death.

By following the truck's route, police have determined Wheeler's body had been tossed in one of 10 trash bins on the east side of Newark, the newspaper said.

Wheeler was a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War who also earned degrees from Harvard University and Yale Law School, the News Journal reported. He was also a defense consultant in Washington and past chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund which built the memorial on the National Mall.

Friends and neighbors were stunned over Wheeler's death.

"This is just not the kind of guy who gets murdered," said Bayard Marin, a Wilmington attorney who represented Wheeler in a dispute with a neighbor. "This is not the kind of guy you find in a landfill."

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