Couple faked wife’s plummet from a cliff so she’d avoid prison, cops say


The path to Grandview’s main overlook area at New River Gorge National River in West Virginia. (National Park Service file photo)

A West Virginia woman and her husband faked her disappearance by pretending she plummeted from an overlook as part of a scheme to keep her out of having to go to prison, authorities said.

Julie Wheeler and Rodney Wheeler were arrested Tuesday on multiple charges including conspiracy and giving false information to West Virginia State Police.

State police said Julie Wheeler was reported missing Sunday by her husband and 17-year-old son.

The family claimed Julie Wheeler had fallen from the main overlook at the New River Gorge National River, National Park Service Ranger Leah Perkowski-Sisk said.

Authorities searched for Julie Wheeler for days but found her Tuesday “alive and well” hiding in a closet in her home.

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Rodney Wheeler

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