Wheeler was allegedly seen on December 28, 2010, exiting an Amtrak train, and later, on the afternoon of December 30, 2010, at 10th and Orange streets in Wilmington, Delaware. On December 31, his body was seen by a landfill worker as it fell onto a trash heap in the Cherry Island Landfill. Police ruled his death a homicide and claimed that 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.
Wheeler's neighbor of seven months, Ron Roark, said that he had met Wheeler only once and rarely saw him. Roark claimed that, in the days prior to Wheeler's death, he (Roark) and his family heard, from outside the Wheeler residence, a loud television within the home that was constantly on, though no one appeared to be home.
According to The Washington Post, Wheeler was sighted on December 29 at the New Castle County courthouse parking garage, disoriented and wearing only one shoe, as the other was ripped. While he attempted to gain access to the parking garage on foot, Wheeler claimed that he wanted to warm up before paying a parking fee. (Police later determined that his car was actually in a different parking garage at the train station.) Wheeler explained to the parking garage attendant that his briefcase had been stolen and assured he was not intoxicated. It is also claimed that, on December 29, Wheeler asked a pharmacist in New Castle for a ride to Wilmington and looked upset. The pharmacist offered to call a cab for Wheeler, at which point Wheeler left the store.
On December 30, Wheeler was sighted wandering about various office buildings, including Mitre and DuPont locations, where he refused offers of assistance from several individuals. On January 28, 2011, the Delaware state medical examiner's office reported Wheeler's cause of death as assault and blunt force trauma without elaboration.