Accused Millionaire Murderer Who Escaped in Santa Barbara Arrested in Mexico
Newport Beach businessman Peter Chadwick arrested after allegedly killing his wife and fleeing to Mexico (Newport Beach Police Department)
By edhat staff
A Southern California millionaire fugitive accused of murdering his wife who escaped in Santa Barbara in 2015 was arrested in Mexico on Sunday.
Peter Chadwick, 54 of Newport Beach, was free on a $2 million bond when he jumped bail in January 2015 while awaiting trial for allegedly killing his wife at their Newport Beach home in 2012. On Monday the U.S. Marshals Service announced he has been apprehended and turned over to U.S. authorities.
About a year ago, Newport Beach police and the U.S. Marshals Service announced a $100,000 reward and released a podcast series "Countdown to Capture" to generate tips about Chadwick's whereabouts and placed him on their 15 Most Wanted Fugitives List.
The millionaire real estate investor called police in October 2012 alleging that a handyman killed his wife, 46-year-old Quee Choo Lim Chadwick known as Q.C., and then kidnapped him and forced him to drive to Mexico to dump her body, according to prosecutors.
Chadwick was then arrested four miles north of the Mexico border by San Diego police after they noticed scratches on his neck and dried blood on his hands, report the U.S. Marshals Service.
He then led investigators to a gas station trash bin in San Diego County where his wife's body was dumped after allegedly admitting he made up the handyman story.
A federal arrest warrant reports Chadwick was released on a $2 million bond on December 21, 2012, after surrendering his British and American passports and agreed to live with his father, a "wealthy investor", in Santa Barbara while awaiting trial, reports NBC News.
When he failed to appear for a Jan. 5, 2015 court hearing, Newport Beach detectives went to his father's Santa Barbara home and were told the defendant was not living there and no one knew where he was, according to a statement from the U.S. Marshals Service.
Investigators discovered his bank accounts worth millions of dollars had been cleared out and learned of books that Chadwick had read titled, "How to Change Your Identity," and "How to Live on the Run Successfully," and "Surviving in Mexico," according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
Chadwick's family later told investigators that Chadwick told them he was going to Seattle and left in a cab, reports 10 News.
Investigators learned that he called a cab at 11:00 a.m. on January 9, 2015 and was taken to the Santa Barbara Airport, where video footage showed him leaving the airport in a different cab six hours later wearing different clothing. His cellphone was turned off and found in a trash dump.
The U.S. Marshals Service found that $600,000 was withdrawn from a related bank account in mid-January 2015.
One of Chadwick's three sons told investigators a month later that his father had been planning this since Nov. 28, 2014. He said his father had a "large sum of money at his disposal and would establish himself in a foreign country by obtaining a place to live and getting a menial job," according to the federal arrest warrant affidavit.
The Orange County district attorney’s office and the Newport Beach Police Department will hold a joint news conference Tuesday regarding Chadwick’s capture.