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Newport Beach police launch true-crime podcast in effort to hasten capture of suspected killer

Newport Beach police launch true-crime podcast in effort to hasten capture of suspected killer
U.S. Marshal David Singer, left, speaks at a news conference on Wednesday with Newport Beach Police Chief Jon Lewis and members of the Orange County district attorney's office to discuss the hunt for murder suspect Peter Chadwick. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

After a fruitless years-long search for a fugitive murder suspect, Newport Beach authorities are taking a very different approach toward capturing their man: On Wednesday, they announced the release of a new six-part podcast detailing the gruesome crime.

The Newport Beach Police Department has already released the first 15-minute episodes of “Countdown to Capture,” a podcast that details allegations against Peter Chadwick, a 54-year-old businessman accused of killing his wife. The podcast will run over two weeks and authorities hope it will help to spread the word about the case and hasten Chadwick’s apprehension.

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"Peter could be anywhere in the world," Newport Beach Police Chief Jon Lewis told reporters at a press conference Wednesday. "He's got the financial means to avoid the restrictions placed on his travel and he's taken every opportunity to hide his tracks. We want to spread his picture and the story of his crimes far and wide. We want everyone to be looking for Peter Chadwick."

Authorities also announced a $100,000 reward for information leading to his capture. The bounty was organized by the city of Newport Beach, the U.S. Marshals Service and private donors.

“We will leave no stone unturned until Peter Chadwick is behind bars,” U.S. Marshal David Singer told reporters. Chadwick has already been added to the U.S. Marshals’ most-wanted list.

The first episode of the podcast introduces listeners to Chadwick and his 46-year-old wife, Quee Choo Chadwick. The couple, along with their three sons, appeared to live a picturesque existence in their two-story Mediterranean-style home in upscale Newport Coast.

The tale takes a sinister turn, however, when the couple goes missing on Oct. 10, 2012. When authorities begin to investigate, they discover blood splattered in the master bathtub and along a wall of the couple’s home. They also find glass from a shattered vase and a safe that has been emptied.

Peter Chadwick of Newport Coast is facing a murder charge in connection with his wife's death in 2012. He has pleaded not guilty.
Peter Chadwick of Newport Coast is facing a murder charge in connection with his wife's death in 2012. He has pleaded not guilty. (Newport Beach Police Department)

Orange County prosecutors have accused Chadwick of killing his wife and dumping her body in a gas station trash bin in San Diego County. He was arrested near the Mexico border after the couple was reported missing by a neighbor.

Chadwick pleaded not guilty to a murder charge and posted $1-million bail. He surrendered his British and American passports to the court and agreed to live with his father in Santa Barbara as he awaited trial.

In 2015, authorities discovered Chadwick had disappeared when he failed to show up to a pretrial hearing in Orange County Superior Court.

Chadwick had claimed that someone else killed his wife and forced him to load the body into a car and drive to the border. However, he later admitted to investigators that he made up the story, authorities said.

Authorities suspect even without his passports, Chadwick still may have been able to leave the country. Investigators discovered several books inside his home detailing how someone can change their identity and ways to live on the run. Chadwick also drained several hundred thousand dollars from his bank accounts and took cash advances on his credit cards before he fled, police said.

The podcast that was announced Wednesday isn’t the first time the Police Department has taken a creative approach to finding a suspect.

Earlier this year, the department turned to Twitter to spread details about the four-decade-old slaying of Linda O’Keefe. The agency chronicled the day 11-year-old O’Keefe disappeared in 1973 with tweets using the hashtag #LindasStory and provided a DNA snapshot of a possible suspect with the hope of moving the case forward.

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