02-19-2010, 09:50 PM #1
MD - Hannah Wheeling, 65, raped & murdered at youth facility, 18 Feb 2010
I first heard about this yesterday & have thought of her often, & continue to wonder about who would rape & murder a school teacher....so sad....I checked on for updates on this case tonite, and it looks like LE has a suspect.
A Harford County woman is dead – the victim of a murder on the campus of a secure detention facility for troubled youths in Prince George’s County.
State police say the body of 65-year-old Hannah Wheeling of Bel Air was found Thursday morning at the Cheltenham Youth Facility.
Wheeling was a teacher at Cheltenham. Police have not identified a suspect -- but they are interviewing other people who work the facility – and the delinquent youths who lived in the cottage where Wheeling's body was found.
Wheeling's worked at the Murphy Cottage on the Cheltenham facility. She taught youths who were considered less dangerous and more ready for rehabilitation.
'It's our understanding that they moved throughout the building yes but again we're not ruling out any possibilities at this point,’ said Greg Shipley, a spokesman for the Maryland State Police. ‘But investigators are talking to them and talking to staff members at this time.’
Twenty teens live and go to class at the Murphy cottage. Wheeling appears to have been beaten to death, and sources tell ABC-2 News there is evidence of a sexual assault. Police say those 20 detainees did have access to the area where wheeling's body was found.
Her neighbors in Bel Air describe a woman who was dedicated to helping the troubled kids at Cheltenham. ‘She enjoyed the kids down there. She did a damn good job and it's something that shouldn't have happened,’ said Mike DeMartino.
Officials say around 7:45 a.m. Thursday, a staff member at the school found Wheeling's body lying outside a door of the school building on the lower level of the two-story brick building.
Police were called to the scene and Wheeling was pronounced dead.
Investigators from the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit, assisted by detectives from the Prince George's County Police Department Homicide Unit, began an investigation.
"The preliminary investigation indicates that the victim had been assaulted," said Greg Shipley, Maryland State Police.
That preliminary investigation found that Wheeling arrived at the school at about 8 a.m. Wednesday. Police are working to determine what her activities were during the day.
They have found no evidence that Wheeling left the school at anytime Wednesday evening.
Wheeling's body was found lying partially clothed outside the door of the school building.
13-year-old is suspect in slaying at Prince George's juvenile facility
Police are questioning a 13-year-old boy in connection with the slaying of a teacher at a state-run juvenile detention center in Prince George's County, and law enforcement sources say he is detectives' main suspect in the killing.
The boy has not been charged, and it remains unclear exactly how or why he might have killed 65-year-old Hannah Wheeling, a Bel Air resident and teacher of general studies at the Cheltenham Youth Facility. The boy is a resident of the facility, but has been moved, the sources said.
Prayers for Ms. Wheeling...it's just so wrong she had to die this way
02-19-2010, 11:45 PM #2
He's been moved? Where?
It's unclear how or why he would sexually assault and murder this poor woman? If we had the answers to these kinds of things we wouldn't be posting.
Poor Mrs. Wheeling. I am so sorry and send prayers for her and her family.
Mrs. Wheeling loved books and loved teaching reading. She saw her 75 mile commute as an "experience". God Bless her.
Last edited by Filly; 02-19-2010 at 11:49 PM.
02-20-2010, 10:30 PM #3
This poor woman was planning on retiring this year.
The ratio between staff and the kids here is 7 to 1. Murphy Cottage where Ms. Wheeling taught is actually located outside the razor wired high security facility. There's no camera survelince at the cottage school. Huh?
This facility has long been troubled. I bet.
02-20-2010, 11:07 PM #4
ummm-- if it was a 'worst fear', why weren't there better safeguards in place??
This is the exact reason I told my mom she was nuts for wanting to teach in a prison for adults - even tho it housed "non-violent" felons. Whatever....kinda like 'low risk juvies' til a teacher ends up brutalized & killed.
02-20-2010, 11:15 PM #5Registered User
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Oh, my prayers go out to Ms. Wheeling, her family and to the families of her students. My guess is that Ms. Wheeling died doing what she loved. Yes the end was violent but I want to believe that God took her quickly. She chose to do this work and there's no work that's more rewarding. At her age, she was likely very aware of the inherent dangers. I'm going to light a candle for Ms. Wheeling tonight. She died fighting so hard to turn youth around. Maybe her death will turn one of her students around.
02-20-2010, 11:21 PM #6
02-25-2010, 09:37 PM #7
More questions raised about Cheltenham killing
February 25, 2010
The discovery of a slain teacher's body last week outside a juvenile detention facility is raising questions about the operations of the troubled Prince George's County facility and about how the woman got outside of the secure building.
On Wednesday, police continued to investigate the death of 65-year-old Hannah E. Wheeling, a teacher found early Feb. 18 outside a building at the Cheltenham Youth Facility where she worked. She was partially clothed and had been beaten.
A 13-year-old juvenile has been identified as the suspect in the killing, according to sources. Under Maryland law, a suspect that age cannot be tried as an adult unless a juvenile judge grants a waiver, and juvenile courts have an accelerated timetable of 30 days for resolution of the case.
Because the suspect was being detained on prior charges, law enforcement sources said authorities want to prepare the strongest case possible before starting that 30-day clock. That includes waiting for the results of forensic testing.
A number of questions have begun to emerge. The Murphy Shelter, located on the grounds of the Cheltenham Youth Facility, has been described as a low-security building that houses nonviolent juvenile offenders, who are allowed to leave for reasons such as work.
But those familiar with the facility's operations say the building is locked at all times from the inside and outside, and only select staff members have keys necessary to enter or leave the building.
Those staff members do not include teachers. Cleary confirmed that the "general policy of the Department of Juvenile Services is that only security personnel are permitted to have keys to the external doors of a facility," raising questions over how Wheeling's body could have been found outside the building.
A former employee, Kinano Jahi-Wade, who left in 2007, said teachers had lobbied to have keys.
"We fought about having a key, but we were told we couldn't have one," Jahi-Wade said. "But at that time, there was really no problem. Whenever we needed to get out, the staff was right there."
Wheeling might have obtained a key - possibly against agency policies or because staffing levels necessitated that she have one - that was used by her attacker to open the door and either commit the crime outside or dispose of her body. Or, the juvenile could have procured a key through other means, which went unreported or unaddressed.
It is also believed that Wheeling was killed the evening of Feb. 17, but her body was not found until the next morning, raising the question of why no one among the small staff noticed that her vehicle had remained in the parking lot overnight.
The 13-year-old suspect was being held on burglary charges and has been moved to a facility in Western Maryland as the investigation continues.
A source said that before Wheeling's death, the boy had initially been housed in the high-security area of Cheltenham until a juvenile judge determined he should be moved to the Murphy Shelter to participate in a selective and competitive program called Re-Direct. All told, he had been at Cheltenham for about three months, the source said.
News Channel 8 in Washington, citing unnamed sources, reported Tuesday night that investigators recovered a state-issued shirt in the boy's name and with the victim's blood on it, and investigators are waiting for DNA results for confirmation.
Sources also say investigators have a witness who saw the teen running from the scene, as well as the boy's videotaped statement conceding that he was at the crime scene and was driven by sexual desire.
and more at
Last edited by wfgodot; 02-25-2010 at 09:38 PM.
02-26-2010, 12:38 AM #8Registered User
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- Jul 2009
I'm so sorry, TM, that you must worry terribly about your mother. My guess is, though, that she wants to be doing what she's doing. Sometimes there's just no real words to explain how this work is rewarding. You probably wouldn't want her deployed in a war zone either or working in an AIDS ward. I'll pray she's safe.
This case reminds me of a horrible assault on a very elderly psychiatrist (in her mid 80s) at the Oregon State Hospital while our son was lodged there. Suddenly, during a group session, a young boy with schizophrenia lunged at the psychiatrist and broke both her arms. If I'm not mistaken she was also sexually assaulted in some way. Even though telephone calls home were highly discouraged, our 16 year old was allowed to call us as he'd been highly traumatized by what he witnessed.
I was absolutely shocked to see the woman, with her casts and bandages, back at work with the teens a couple of weeks later. She shrugged off our concern and said, "it comes with the territory". I liken it to the killer whale who killed his trainer yesterday.
This is dangerous work...there's no minimizing that. I walk the fine line everyday. I've chosen to not live in fear and know where I'm going if a crazed young person decides to take out his anger on me. I've had my pelvis broken, two concussions, and the snot knocked out of me more times than I can count. I'm little but I won't be bullied. I don't yell or raise my voice but I won't back down. What's right is right and I expect right.
I've made sure that my husband knows how to contact Tricia if something like that ever happens. It comes with the territory. But it doesn't make it any easier on loved ones.
Last edited by Missizzy; 02-26-2010 at 12:40 AM.
02-26-2011, 08:40 PM #9
Brian Lee Wonson has been charged as adult with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree rape of Cheltenham teacher, 65-year-old Hannah Wheeling.
02-27-2011, 01:39 AM #10Registered User
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- Jul 2009
I have to say that I have a very hard time with that. Simple fact is that a 13 year old boy is not an adult. Any more than a man is a woman or a cat is a dog. He's a child. He committed a horrific act but he's still a child. We wouldn't allow him to vote, to join the military, to drive, to drink or to marry. How can we try him as an adult? JMO
01-14-2012, 08:52 PM #11Registered User
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- Apr 2007
He pled guilty and was sentenced to 85 years. The prosecuters also said he had previously stabbed another woman and is also a suspect in another attempted murder. It sounds like he really needs to be behind bars.
01-14-2012, 10:47 PM #12Registered User
Just my opinion
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01-16-2012, 12:49 AM #13Registered User
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- Long Beach, California
Prosecutors say doctors who examined the teen found him to be sane, but wicked.
"Oh yeah, completely without being mentally ill,” said Prosecutor Wes Adams. "He exhibited no remorse, childhood onset anti-social personality disorder. That's not criminally insane, that's dangerous.”
Neither Wheeling nor Wonsom had family members present for the plea and sentencing.
Wonsom, when given the chance, declined to say anything.
Wonsom was brought to the attention of authorities by his mother who found stolen items in his possession. That is why he was at the Cheltenham facility in the first place.
Why he chose to attack Wheeling is still unclear.
Since there is parole in Maryland, Wonsom will be eligible to apply in his mid-to-late 50s.
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