police in Delaware are investigating the murder of a former Pentagon official after his body was found in a rubbish dump.
The corpse of John Wheeler, 66 – who had worked for three presidents – was discovered when a refuse truck deposited its load at the Cherry Island landfill site in Wilmington on New Year's Eve. A spokesman said: "A spotter observed a body coming out of a truck."
The state medical examiner has ruled that the death was homicide.
Mr Wheeler, a special assistant to the Air Force Secretary in the Bush administration from 2005 until 2008, was last seen on a train from Washington to Delaware on Thursday.
A Vietnam veteran, he served in the administrations of former presidents George Bush Snr and Ronald Reagan and is a past chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which built the Washington monument to soldiers killed in the war.
Former Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne described his former colleague as a "patriot" and added: "He's the most unlikely candidate for someone to do this to."
Bayard Marin, a lawyer who was representing Mr Wheeler in a property dispute, commented: "He was just not the sort of person who would wind up in a landfill."