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John Wheeler Murder Gets More Baffling

His body tumbled from a garbage truck into a landfill, reports CBS News chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford.

John Wheeler, the driving force behind the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and former White House and Pentagon aide, was found dead on New Year's Eve, buried in the trash.

Police say Wheeler's body was picked up from a dumpster in Newark, Delaware. But there's much they don't know about a crime that seems to get more baffling with every new clue.

In the days before his death, Wheeler seemed to come unhinged.

On Dec. 29th, he showed up at this pharmacy in New Castle, Delaware, asking for a ride. That night, Wheeler was captured on surveillance tape, stumbling through a parking garage, looking for his car -- which wasn't there.

"He didn't look good, he was really weird," said parking lot attendant Iman Goldsborough. "He had no overcoat on and one shoe in his hand."

At about 8:30 the next night, Dec. 30, Wheeler was seen at a former DuPont Company building in Wilmington, again seeming disoriented.

The next day his body was found at the landfill.

Robert Dill, a neighbor who had seen Wheeler Christmas Eve, was shocked at Wheeler's condition on the tape.

"I have never seen him like that in my life," said Dill. "I have no idea."

Wheeler, a veteran, was working in Washington for a defense contractor and was recently interviewed on CBS News Sunday Morning.

But law enforcement sources say the murder was apparently not related to his government work.

"It's got us totally confused," said Dill. "At this point I couldn't even give you a theory."

Police haven't said how Wheeler was murdered or even where he was actually killed. They are looking at a legal battle with a neighbor -- but friends say they can't imagine that dispute would have led to his death.


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    Jan Crawford is CBS News Chief Political and Legal Correspondent. She is from "Crossroads," Alabama.