An Orange County millionaire who’s the subject of a true crime podcast produced by Newport Beach police has been arrested in Mexico for his wife’s 2012 death after a yearslong, worldwide manhunt, authorities announced Tuesday.
Peter Gregory Chadwick, a U.K.-born real estate investor, could face 25 years to life in prison for a murder charge in the death of his wife of 21 years, Quee Choo “Q.C.” Chadwick, in their Newport Beach home on Oct. 10, 2012.
Chadwick, 55, and the 46-year-old victim had three sons, who were 9, 12 and 15 years old at the time of the killing, officials said.
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He’s accused of strangling and drowning her in their bathroom during a fight over a possible divorce and related financial issues, according to Newport Beach police. The next day, he allegedly called 911 from a gas station near the Mexico border in San Diego and claimed somebody had broken into their home, killed his wife, and drove him there.
Newport Beach police said they detained Chadwick after finding scratches on his neck and determining inconsistencies in his account.
On Oct. 18, 2012, authorities found the victim’s body in a dumpster in the suburbs of San Diego.
The following December, Chadwick posted $1 million in bail, was ordered to turn over his U.S. and U.K. passports and to stay at his father’s residence in Santa Barbara.
He attended court proceedings over the next two years before failing to appear at a pre-trial hearing in January 2015, according to authorities. The U.S. Marshals added him to its 15 Most Wanted fugitive list in September 2018.
“He might not have had access to his passports, but we knew Peter Chadwick had the means to hide anywhere in the world,” Newport Beach police Chief Jon Lewis said at a news conference on Tuesday.
Officials believe Chadwick had been traveling throughout Mexico since he disappeared from California.
He had tried to lead investigators to believe that he was heading to Canada by leaving receipts from the Washington area and literature about living in Canada at his father’s home in Santa Barbara, U.S. Marshal David Singer said.
Instead, Chadwick had taken a large sum of money with him to Mexico and stayed at high-end luxury hotels, Lewis said.
He eventually had to resort to more modest accommodations at motels and hostels, working odd jobs to supplement the money he had, Lewis added.
Chadwick got help from his family and used different identities, according to officials. He never intended to return to the U.S. to face trial nor raise his three sons, Lewis said.
Authorities had received thousands of tips throughout the investigation, thanks in part to a six-episode podcast about the case Newport Beach police produced and released in 2018, the chief said. The podcast, called “Countdown to Capture,” is the first of its kind produced by a law enforcement agency, according to Newport Beach police.
A tip received by Mexican authorities eventually led them to a community of expatriates in Puebla, according to police. Chadwick was detained Sunday before being deported by Mexican officials and handed to the U.S. Marshals and then Newport Beach police.
Officials believe the intense media pressure helped lead to Chadwick’s arrest. While the chief credited “good old police work” in Chadwick’s capture, he said he wouldn’t count out producing another podcast as a tool for other cases.
“What this podcast did was increase awareness, generate leads for us, and that’s what we needed,” Lewis said.
Editor’s note: Authorities corrected the defendant’s age to 55 Tuesday after earlier saying he was 54.