A husband is now in jail along with his wife after they devised a plan to fake her death in an attempt to avoid jail time for a previous crime. On May 31, Julie Wheeler was reported missing by her husband and son after she faked her death, WVVA reported.
Two days later, Wheeler was discovered hiding in one of the closets after her husband Rodney Wheeler told authorities that she fell from the main overlook at Grandview State Park in West Virginia. It was believed the mom fell over the overlook because she had lost an earring.
Husband and Wife Allegedly Tried to Fake Wife’s Death So She Could Avoid Jail for a Prior Crime
The reason for attempting to fake her death was because Wheeler had pleaded guilty to submitting fraudulent applications to the Veteran’s Administration. On June 17, she was scheduled to be sentenced for her crimes. Wheller was facing up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and restitution ranging from $302,131 to $469,983.
After Wheeler was reported missing by her 17-year-old son, a search with the help of helicopters and more quickly began looking for the 44-year-old mom. The following day, Rodney even took to social media to ask for people’s prayers, People reported.
“The accident at Grandview yesterday involved my wife. They haven’t found her yet, but I am holding out hope that she will be found and she is OK. I am heartbroken and lost right now, but I have to have faith. Please give us time to work through this, and please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.”
It’s believed the son was also in on the plan but it hasn’t been revealed if he will face any consequences. According to the criminal complaint, the son worked with his father to “plant items at the Grandview Overlook to fake the death or disappearance of Julie Wheeler.”
In a statement shared with CBS 59, United States Attorney Mike Stuart said, “It is hard to hide at home.”
“My team is in close communication with the Raleigh County Prosecutor and the West Virginia State Police. We are monitoring the developments in the Wheeler investigation. We are conducting a thorough federal investigation at this time. I have directed federal resources to ensure we bring every appropriate federal charge – against Ms. Wheeler and any other persons involved in this matter.”
On June 4, both Julie and Rodney were arrested and charged with conspiracy and giving false information to West Virginia State Police.