The last time Katherine Klyce saw her husband, John Wheeler, she was mad at him. It was the day after Christmas, and she was looking forward to a relaxing few days at home in New York City. "I like the week between Christmas and New Year's because you can lie around and go to the movies," said Klyce. But Wheeler said he had to go to Washington, where he'd held numerous posts in the Reagan and both Bush administrations, and where he currently worked for a defense technology firm. Klyce was upset, but she didn't sense anything wrong. "He seemed just like Jack."
...As the investigation has dragged on, Klyce has become increasingly frustrated with law enforcement. "If you write anything, I hope you write that the cops just made our lives miserable," she said.
Some facts are relatively straightforward: On Dec. 26, Wheeler apparently boarded an Amtrak train from New York to Washington. Two days later, he hopped back on the train to Wilmington, Del., a 20-minute drive from the family's home in nearby New Castle. Then things get hazy.
- The next morning, Dec. 29, a cabbie picked Wheeler up at the Amtrak station in Wilmington and dropped him off about 12 blocks north. He was then off the radar until 6 p.m.
- Wheeler stopped by a pharmacy near New Castle called Happy Harry's at 6 p.m. He asked one of the pharmacists for a ride back to Wilmington. The pharmacist offered to call Wheeler a cab, but Wheeler declined and left.
- Sometime later he was at a courthouse in Wilmington, where he told a garage attendant that his brief case had been stolen and he was looking for his car. (His car turned out to be at the Amtrak station three blocks away.)
- Dec. 30 Wheeler was wandering around downtown Wilmington. That afternoon, he showed up at the offices of the law firm Connolly Bove Lodge & Hutch, (which specializes in intellectual property law) asking to speak with a partner. When the receptionist returned, Wheeler had left.
- What happened next is the big question. Wheeler's body was first discovered coming out of a dump truck at the Cherry Island Landfill in Wilmington by a spotter, there to keep an eye out for hazardous waste. The spotter called the Wilmington police, who then phoned the Newark police, since the truck's route originated in their jurisdiction.
"I think perhaps no one has been on the reward because they've already been paid," Klyce reportedly told Slate. "Then there's the way Wheeler's body was apparently moved from Wilmington to the dumpster in Newark. 'The way they disposed of his body, it's a miracle anybody ever found it. That just sounds like a pro to me.' Klyce isn't the only one to raise the possibility. Citing Wheeler's involvement in the military and government, Thomas McInerney, a retired Air Force officer, told ABC News: 'A man with that experience, it could have been foul play to get some of the secrets he had.' "
- On Jan. 30 Klyce and Wheeler family announced a $25,000 reward for information that led to the arrest of Wheeler's killer. No one has responded.
Klyce saw the videos, and said Wheeler appeared normal—for Wheeler, at least. Wheeler's doctor, who has known him 40 years, agreed, according to Klyce. Wheeler had a terrible sense of direction. "He was disoriented every day in his life," she said. "He couldn't walk from here to CVS without specifically drawn maps." "He was probably most definitely lost," she added.
But she disputes the notion that he was crazy or demented. Wheeler, who was bipolar and took lithium for his condition, didn't always respond to social cues. "He was a touch Asperger-y," she said. "He couldn't read faces. He couldn't gauge other peoples' reactions." What about the shoe in his hand? "He didn't care about clothes," she said. "Jack was oblivious. Nothing sartorially peculiar about Jack is out of the ordinary."...
Klyce said she doesn't know anything about the smoke bomb incident on Dec. 28. "I think it'd be nutty—not to say that Jack wasn't capable of nuttiness—to do anything that would cause that much damn trouble when you don't have to."
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."Katherine Klyce founded Katherine Klyce International, LLC, in 2004 to produce Takeo Textiles. She has traveled extensively in search of fabrics and art that is distinctive, rare, of the highest taste, and rich with history and individuals’ stories and provenance. She has explored the whole of Namibia, boated up the Mekong River, and lived in a tree house in Ecuador’s rainforest. She often takes her two daughters with her on these trips, as well as her guitar (she is a skilled classical guitarist).
Her journeys began when Katherine spent 6 months traveling around the world on her own at the age of 22, at a time when other young women’s foreign travel was limited to supervised bus tours of European capitals, and the only means of communication with home was a very slow postal service. It was on this trip that she first visited Cambodia and developed a love for the arts, culture, and people of Southeast Asia. She did not return to the region again until 1993, this time as the Project Officer setting up a publishing program in Viet Nam for the Obor Foundation.
In 1998 she finally came back to Cambodia as an Election Observer for the second United Nations-sponsored election of Cambodia’s new democratic government. In addition to over 10 years of work experience and travel in Indochina, Katherine has studied home textiles at Manhattan’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).
She created KKI to bring Cambodia’s unique hand-woven silk to the US market while furthering business opportunities for her Cambodian friends. Her products are made from gorgeous fabrics—many of them colored with 100 percent natural dyes—sewn into uniquely designed pillows, throws, placemats, and wall hangings. By combining ancient techniques with modern design and sensibilities, these products make extraordinary decorative additions to any home.
Her partner in the business is Chanthou Boua, who was educated in Australia and pursued an academic career there and in the United States. In the early 90’s she returned to her native Cambodia as a consultant to the United Nations to assist in the rebuilding of the country after the Khmer Rouge regime was finally defeated. For the past twelve years she has been the Director of PADEK, a not-for-profit Phnom Penh-based organization working to develop civil society in rural villages.
In addition to the New York address for the company there is also the following one:
108 West 3rd Street
New Castle, DE 19720
Obor Foundation's legal name is Obor, Inc., incorporated as a non-profit in New York in 1970, but located at 623 Greenhill Road, Madison, Connecticut with the following officers: Ivan Katz, Director; John Bullitt, Chairman of the Board; Stanley Barnett, Secretary-Treasurer. It was sponsored multinationally to assist Indonesia and Malaysia in publishing college-level textbooks. Katz is an attorney in New Haven, CT.
Irina Livezeanu received her MA in Russian and East European Studies and PhD in History at the University of Michigan and teaches at the University of Pittsburgh. Pavel Câmpeanu, in Exit: toward post-Stalinism, referred to Ivan Katz in his acknowledgements as a "fiery cultural sponsor" of his book project, and he also mentioned help from Rutherford M. Poats.
The chairman of Obor Foundation can only be John C. Bullitt, who was serving as the Assistant Administrator for East Asia at the Agency for International Development at the time Obor, Inc. was set up. Poats has also been intimately involved in AID in the same region at the same time. In his oral interview, Poats acknowledged the assistance of the late Professor Ibrahim Shihata, the World Bank's General Counsel from 1983 to 1998 and CEPMLP's Professor of International Economic Law. He died on 28 May 2001.
Obituary for Bullitt, who died in 1988:
John C. Bullitt, an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under President Kennedy, died of cancer yesterday at his farm in Princeton, N.J. He was 62 years old. Mr. Bullitt, a senior partner in the law firm of Shearman and Sterling, served as director of the New Jersey Office of Economic Opportunity, an antipoverty agency, in the 1960's. He was an assistant administrator for East Asia in the Agency for International Development from 1967 to 1969. He joined Shearman and Sterling in 1953 as an associate and returned to the firm as a partner in 1969. In 1978 he opened a Hong Kong office and remained there until 1981. Mr. Bullitt was responsible for an airlift of American books to Moscow in 1959, after Soviet readers borrowed so many of the books from a bookmobile at the American National Exhibition that the bookmobile had to be closed. After one of the speediest packing jobs in the history of the publishing industry, 2,800 books were flown to the Soviet Union to replenish the exhibit.
The secretary-treasurer who helped establish Obor Foundation appears to have been Dr. Stanley B. Barnett, who worked in Romania, the Philippines, China and Indonesia "to provide opportunities for ultrasound societies within developing or emerging countries to increase their expertise in education. As a result, funds are provided ..." by the World Federation for Ultrasound--a non-governmental organization (NGO) that operates independently of any government.
NGOs are defined by the World Bank as "private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services, or undertake community development."