A millionaire real estate investor who jumped bail while awaiting trial for allegedly killing his wife at their Newport Beach home nearly seven years ago has been apprehended and turned over to U.S. authorities, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
In a case that sounds more Agatha Christie than real life, Peter Chadwick went missing in January 2015 while free on a $2 million bond. About a year ago, Newport Beach police and the U.S. Marshals Service announced a $100,000 reward and released a podcast series aimed at generating public tips about Chadwick’s whereabouts.
At one residence in the case, investigators found several books at the residence indicating he had been planning to flee with titles such as “How to Change Your Identity” and “How to Live on the Run Successfully” and “Surviving in Mexico,” according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
The Marshals Service, which is planning a news conference for Tuesday morning, did not immediately confirm media reports that Chadwick was arrested late Sunday in Mexico.
Chadwick called police in October 2012 alleging that a handyman killed his wife, Quee Choo Lim Chadwick, who was known as Q.C., and then kidnapped him and forced him to drive to Mexico to dump her body, according to prosecutors.
But San Diego police arrested Chadwick four miles north of the Mexico border, after noticing he had scratches on his neck and dried blood on his hands, according to the Marshals Service. Investigators later found a crime scene at the Chadwick residence, and after questioning the victim’s husband, detectives were led to a gas station trash bin in San Diego County where his wife’s body had been dumped.
Chadwick allegedly admitted to investigators he made up the story about the handyman being the culprit.
When he was released on Dec. 21, 2012, on a $2 million bond, he surrendered his British and American passports and agreed to live with his father in Santa Barbara, according to a federal arrest warrant.
When Chadwick skipped a January 2015 court date, Newport Beach detectives went to his father’s home and were told the defendant was not living there and no one knew where he was, according to the Marshals Service.
Chadwick’s family later told investigators that Chadwick told them he was going to Seattle and left in a cab.
Authorities said Chadwick called a cab at 11 a.m. on Jan. 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, according to the Marshals Service. His cell phone was turned off the same day and was later found in a trash dump.
Bank records showed he withdrew $600,000 from an account in mid-January of that year, according to the Marshals Service.
One of his three sons told investigators in February 2015 that Chadwick had been planning his flight since Nov. 28, 2014, according to the Marshals Service.