An Orange County judge on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant for a murder suspect who is believed to have killed himself or fled the jurisdiction.

Peter G. Chadwick was arrested near the Mexico border Oct. 11, 2012, after the body of his wife, Quee, was found in a trash bin near Lakeside in San Diego County.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy told City News Service Tuesday that Chadwick, who was free on $1 million bail, disappeared.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Robert Gannon Jr. lifted a stay on a warrant for the defendant’s arrest.     Attorneys will return to court Feb. 11 to discuss what to do about Chadwick’s bail, because the judge and attorneys are worried that a forfeiture of it would hurt the defendant’s three school-aged sons more than anyone else.

Chadwick was denied bail when arrested because he was facing a special circumstances allegation of committing the murder for financial gain, but Murphy had that charge dismissed Dec. 18, 2012, because there wasn’t enough evidence to support it at the time. Lifting the special circumstances allegation cleared the way for Chadwick to make a standard $1 million bail.

The bail was put up by 101 Bail Bonds Inc.

Gannon has some authority to rule that the bail bonds company receive its deposit back, saving the rest of the money for the children who would inherit their father’s estate, Murphy said.

Gannon had put the bench warrant on hold Jan. 16 to give the defendant’s attorney, Robert Sanger, one more chance to reach his client.

“I’ve lost contact” with Chadwick, Sanger said today.

Family and friends of the defendant told authorities that Chadwick has been “despondent,” raising fears he took his own life, Murphy said.

“No one has heard from him in several days, including his children, which is unusual,” Murphy told reporters after the hearing.

Chadwick was staying with his father in the Santa Barbara area while awaiting trial, Murphy said.

Newport Beach police were holding Chadwick’s passport and other travel- related documents to prevent him from leaving the country, Murphy said.

In 2012, Newport Beach police were alerted when Chadwick’s wife failed to pick up her three children from school on Oct. 10. About 5:30 a.m. the next day, Peter Chadwick called San Diego police as he was driving on state Route 905. He was later arrested and charged with his wife’s murder.

The couple were discussing a divorce, and Murphy said investigators found blood and signs of a struggle in the Chadwicks’ Newport Coast home.

—City News Service

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