'Unsolved Mysteries' Volume 2: Every Theory Behind Jack Wheeler's Disappearance and Death

Unsolved Mysteries is back and more haunting than ever. The first episode of the season's second volume explores what happened to John "Jack" Wheeler. The former aide of President George W. Bush, who also oversaw the building of the Vietnam War Memorial, was found in a landfill in Wilmington, Delaware in December 2010. He was working as a consultant for Mitre Corporation at the time of his death, and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

The night before he died, Wheeler was captured on security footage at a New Castle pharmacy, asking for someone to drive him to Wilmington. The pharmacist offered to call him a cab, but he declined.

Less than an hour later, Wheeler was seen in a security video at a parking garage, appearing agitated and distressed and carrying one shoe. He told attendants that his suitcase was stolen. Oddly enough, his car was in a different parking garage than the one he appeared stranded in.

The last security footage of Wheeler showed him walking toward Rodney Square the evening of December 30 around 8:40 p.m. His body was dumped in a trash container, which then took him to the landfill where he was discovered the morning of December 31.

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A still from security footage of John "Jack" Wheeler in "Unsolved Mysteries," "Washington insider Murder." Courtesy of Netflix

What happened to the well-respected Washington insider, however remains unknown. Police ruled his death a homicide, but no one came forward to confess to the killing, and no suspects have been named.

One likely theory suggests that he was not murdered. Wheeler allegedly had a mental breakdown and wound up in the Newark dumpster, which transported him to the landfill, as per true crime blog, Fletcher Marple. The "blunt force" trauma could be his body moving around the garbage truck before ultimately being dumped. He was found with broken ribs and bruises on his face, among other things.

He also could have crawled into the dumpster to keep warm that night, after being disoriented, and was moved to the landfill by the garbage trucks. However, the damage seemed too severe to just be from banging around a garbage truck.

Another plausible theory proposes that he was mugged and then dumped in the large trash receptacle. Rodney Square is nearby streets notorious for their high crime rate, Fletcher Marple noted. However, for muggers to move his body seemed strange, as in that type of incident, the criminals leave their victim at the scene.

One theory posits that Wheeler was embroiled in a dispute with a neighbor over construction, which could explain the ransacked home and the smoke bomb that went off a few days before Wheeler was found. As per ABC News, Wheeler had filed a lawsuit against his neighbors over zoning approval, since the construction slightly blocked his view of the Battery Park and the Delaware River.

Though the smoke bomb incident's timing raised eyebrows, police have yet to connect it with Wheeler's disappearance and death. "We are aware of the dispute they were having with the neighbor, and that is one facet of our investigation," Lieutenant Mark Farrall said, as per Daily Press.

Additionally, the day his body was found, the police were en route to his house to investigate a possible burglary after another neighbor suspected a burglary. Whether or not these pieces connect remain unclear.

The neighbors working on the construction issued a statement of condolences over Wheeler's death, ABC News reported at the time.

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Still from "Unsolved Mysteries," "Washington Insider Murder." Courtesy of Netflix

Others have speculated that Wheeler is a spy, which makes sense because of the government positions he previously held. His long career in politics and business, along with his work as a defense contractor and serving as an army officer in the Vietnam war means he was well-connected — for better or for worse.

The Washington Post posited that one explanation behind Wheeler's death was that "the U.S. government assassinated him because he was going to blow the whistle on the dumping of a chemical weapons stash." Wheeler was an authority on chemical and biological warfare, and his death mysteriously occurred after an alarming number of birds had died, Daily Press noted.

However, in order for that theory to make sense, this would need to be true, Wheeler would need to know about it and threaten to expose the government, and he would be killed as a result of that.

There is also guesswork via The Washington Post that "The Chinese murdered him for secrets he held about America's cyber warfare capabilities." Wheeler was working on cybersecurity before his death, so this theory, though unlikely, makes sense.

"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?" Former homicide investigator Brad Garrett told ABC News at the time. "Becomes disoriented, he wanders around. He hits into the wrong crowd. They kill him. They rob him, whatever they might do."

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President Ronald Reagan holds a replica of a statue of three soldiers that was dedicated and became part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in November 1984. Jan Scruggs, one of the Memorial's strongest supporters, stands at far left along with Vietnam veteran Jack Wheeler (3rd from left, in profile). Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Whether Wheeler was murdered, or simply wandered into a dumpster in the dead of night to keep warm, remains a mystery.

Six new episodes of Unsolved Mysteries are now available to stream on Netflix.