Life After Death
John Wheeler was found in a Delaware landfill on New Year's Eve. His widow discusses Wheeler's life, his death, and her frustration with the investigation.
In the weeks since Wheeler's death, thinking about the case—and dealing with logistics like changing bank accounts and organizing the funeral at Arlington National Cemetery, scheduled for April 29—has become Klyce's full-time job. Klyce founded a Cambodian textile company, Takeo Textiles, in 2004. But she's had to set that work aside for now. The energy she dedicates to the case, she says, is "whatever's not dedicated to sleeping."
Klyce knows it's not easy. In 1995, her sister was murdered in her Memphis home by her son's drug dealer. Finding the killer took 10 years. Klyce testified at the sentencing trial and attended subsequent parole hearings. "It never ends," she said. "People don't understand that about murders."
Last time around, though, she had Jack to help her through it. "This is worse," she said. "For a week or so, I'd wake up and expect Jack to be there. And then I wouldn't want to wake up at all because I knew he wasn't going to be there. Some days I'd wake up early and the sun would be coming up and I'd want to try to stop it. How does the sun have the audacity to shine when Jack's not here to look at it? It has to wait for him to get here."
Correction, Feb. 24, 2011: This article originally said the Cherry Island Landfill in Newark, Del. It is in Wilmington. (Return to the corrected sentence.)
Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.
Official US. Office of Defense portrait of John Wheeler.