The body of a decorated veteran who once served as a special assistant to the secretary of the Air Force has been found at a landfill in Delaware.

The body of 66-year-old John Wheeler III was dumped out of a garbage truck at the landfill near Wilmington on New Year's Eve. His death was ruled a homicide.

Newark, N.J., police are investigating Wheeler's slaying because the garbage truck made pickups from a series of trash bins in Newark before going to the landfill. Police believe Wheeler's body had been placed inside one of the bins and had not been there long when the truck arrived.

Someone was unloading a trash truck when they discovered his body and called police. Police believe the body was not in the trash bin for a long time.

Wheeler, of New Castle, Del., was clothed and his body was not in a bag or wrapped in anything, according to Capt. Elmer Harris with Wilmington police.

John P. Wheeler Wheeler was a decorated veteran who served in Vietnam. He also served as the Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force in Washington, D.C. from 2005-2008, according to police. He was a graduate of Harvard and Yale Universities.