The hunt for a fugitive and murder suspect from Newport Beach came to an end this week as the one of the most wanted suspects in the country was arrested and is now in the hands of U.S. authorities.
Peter Gregory Chadwick, 54, is in custody, Newport Beach Police Department spokeswoman Heather Rangel confirmed in an email Monday.
Bail was denied for Chadwick during arraignment on Wednesday, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer confirmed. He was remanded to custody of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Next court date is Aug. 16. Chadwick faces 25 years to life in prison.
“You can run but you can’t hide,” Spitzer said during a press conference Tuesday.
After years as a fugitive, police had exhausted numerous leads and waded through hundreds of tips before one finally paid off and led them to their suspect, NBPD Chief Jon Lewis said Tuesday.
“We solved this case years ago, but that was not the end of our duty,” Lewis said. “We will pursue justice for the victims, their loved ones, their friends, neighbors, and community members whose lives changed irrevocably one Wednesday in October 2012.”
The goal was always to bring Chadwick to Orange County so he could stand trial, Lewis added.
The tip contained some “general information” that was used to “pinpoint” Chadwick’s location, Lewis confirmed. He was found Sunday night at a residential duplex near Puebla, Mexico.
Authorities flew him to Los Angeles, where NBPD took custody of him around 10 a.m. Monday.
They believe Chadwick has been in Mexico since his disappearance, Lewis said, and he never intended to return.
He traveled around the country, used fake identities, and never kept a steady residence. At first, Chadwick stayed in high-end, luxury hotels and resorts, but lost this option when the resorts began requiring passports for identification, Lewis explained. He also worked a number of odd jobs to supplement his cash flow.
U.S. Marshal David Singer said Chadwick intentionally attempted to lead authorities to believe that he was in Canada, strategically leaving clues about living in Canada or receipts from an airport near the Canadian border.
Between teamwork of the agencies and tips from the public, along with “good old fashioned police work,” Lewis added, authorities eventually found Chadwick in Mexico. They pursued him, tracked him down and arrested him, as promised, Singer said.
“It should be an example for any fugitive on the run,” Singer said.
Chadwick was placed on the U.S. Marshals Service 15 most wanted list and a $100,000 reward was offered in September.
At a press conference in September, authorities emphasized that Chadwick has a “great deal” of money at his disposal and could be anywhere in the world. Before he disappeared, Chadwick emptied out bank accounts and took out cash advances on credit cards, resulting in millions of dollars.
“Today is sweet… but let’s not forget it’s (also) bitter,” Spitzer said on Tuesday.
On Oct. 10, 2012, neither Chadwick nor his wife, Quee Choo “Q.C.,” arrived to pick up their three children from school. Another parent spotted the kids, who had been waiting for more than an hour at the pick-up location, and drove them home.
After failing to get ahold of either Chadwick parent, the neighbor then requested a welfare check from the Newport Beach Police Department.
A subsequent search of the home by NBPD revealed blood and signs of a struggle inside the home. NBPD began investigating the whereabouts of the couple.
The following day, Peter Chadwick called 911 from a San Diego gas station. He told local authorities that his wife had been killed by a handyman, who had subsequently kidnapped him, and then taken her body.
Chadwick, however, quickly became the primary suspect in his wife’s death. Detectives who interviewed him doubted his story, especially when they noticed scratches on his neck and dried blood on his hands. He was arrested for the crime later that day, police reported.
One week later, Q.C. Chadwick’s body was discovered in a dumpster in the 12000 block of Wildcat Canyon Road in Lakeside in San Diego County.
Peter Chadwick allegedly strangled his wife to death at their Newport Beach home over a dispute regarding a possible divorce and related financial issues, according to authorities.
Chadwick was out of police custody after posting $1 million bail on Dec. 21, 2012.
A native of the United Kingdom, Chadwick was ordered to surrender his passports and stay with his father in Santa Barbara to await his trial.
The defendant had made 13 court appearances before disappearing after he failed to appear for a scheduled pre-trial hearing in Jan. 2015, and became a fugitive from justice.
Authorities contacted the U.S. Marshals Service Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force, who discovered books Chadwick allegedly read about how to change one’s identity and live off the grid.
A reward of up to $25,000 was offered by the U.S. Marshals for information leading directly to his arrest, with an additional reward of up to $75,000 offered by the city of Newport Beach and private donors.