The South Lake Minnetonka Police Department is currently investigating a homicide that took place in Shorewood at 5700 Wood Duck Circle.
The case was first brought to the attention of police on August 13 when family members reported that their relation was missing. The 58 year old male victim, whose name has not yet been released, had told his family that he would be taking a bus to Chicago and he would arrive on or around August 1st. The victim had also told a close friend that he was having problems with his girlfriend, one Jetaun Helen Wheeler, 29.
The victim had called the police to report that his girlfriend had assaulted him on July 31st. A close friend of the victim reported that he had said Wheeler was acting crazy and had attacked him. When speaking to the police, the victim said that he was going to leave Minnesota and go stay with his family in Chicago.
The victim’s brother contacted police and told officers that he had gone to the victim’s home in an effort to find him. He was not at there, and when the brother knocked on the door, Wheeler refused to answer. The brother waited until Wheeler tried to leave the house in her car and he blocked the vehicle in a further effort to talk with her. Wheeler went back into her home and refused to answer the door.
Police went to Wheeler’s home as a follow up to the brother’s call on August 13th, and knocked for 5 minutes before Wheeler answered the door. When she did answer, she told police that she had driven the victim to the Megabus station at about 11:00 a.m. on August 3rd. She said that she had not seen or talked to him since then.
Investigators continued to search for the victim and canvassed the neighborhood as part of this search. At this time, they spoke to a neighbor who said that she had seen the couple fighting recently as they stood in their driveway.
Police returned to Wheeler’s home on August 21st with a search warrant. They found pieces of carpeting that were rolled up under Wheeler’s mattress. The carpet did not match the carpet in the home and it was covered with what appeared to be blood spatter. Bags of clothing and shoes that were covered with blood were found underneath the kitchen sink. Police also found small samples of blood spatter in other areas of the home which led them to the garage. While searching the garage, they saw a brand new freezer that was covered up with two mattresses and a box of Christmas ornaments. When they opened the freezer, they found the body of the victim, wrapped in plastic and duct tape.
An autopsy conducted by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner verified the identity of the victim as the missing 58 year old man. The victim had what appeared to be defensive wounds to the back of his hands, as well as a contusion to his arms. The left side of his face and his left eye had lacerations on them caused by a blunt-force trauma. No pre-existing injuries or illnesses were found.
Police found a closet rod on the floor. This rod was broken in half and was covered with bloodstains. At this point in the investigation it is believed to be the murder weapon. It was further found that the defendant’s bedroom closet was missing a closet rod. Investigators also found that Wheeler had purchased the freezer on August 5th.
Wheeler appeared in court yesterday, and was charged with second degree murder. She is currently in custody on a two million dollar bail. Her three children, ages 7, 8 and 10 are in protective custody.
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