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Smyrna Police arrest man for rape of his family member


James Wheeler, 34



Smyrna PD investigators recently arrested a 34-year-old man for the armed rape and sexual assault of one of his family members. On 6/1/24, SPD officers were dispatched to the home of a resident in the 100 block of Lawn Dr in reference to a sexual assault that had occurred on 5/31/24. SPD detectives arrived on the scene shortly after and assumed the investigation. Detectives discovered that 34-year-old James Wheeler was visiting a family member at the apartment on Saturday, 5/31/24. During the afternoon, Mr. Wheeler and his family member were alone in the apartment. Mr. Wheeler produced a knife and proceeded to rape and sexually assault the victim until other family members arrived home and interrupted him. Mr. Wheeler fled the scene in an unknown direction. Once the facts were ascertained, SPD detectives obtained arrest warrants for Mr. Wheeler. With the assistance of the Dover Police Department, Mr. Wheeler was located and taken into custody in the city of Dover on 6/3/24. He was transferred to the custody of SPD detectives, where he was formally charged with the following crimes: Rape 1st degree, Possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony, Aggravated menacing, Possession of a deadly weapon by a person prohibited, Unlawful imprisonment 1st degree, Terroristic threatening, and Incest. Mr. Wheeler was presented via video phone to JP #2 where he was committed to the Sussex Correctional Institute in lieu of $174,000 cash bond pending a future court hearing. Further details about the victim are being withheld to protect their identity.


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