An Orange County multimillionaire charged in the slaying of his wife was taken into custody Sunday after a years-long manhunt, authorities confirmed Monday.
Peter Chadwick, 54, a figure on the U.S. Marshals’ most-wanted list, was arrested late Sunday out of the country and arrived in California early Monday, according to law enforcement sources. A photograph of a man in handcuffs said to be Chadwick was taken by news crews as he arrived at Los Angeles International Airport.
Orange County prosecutors allege Chadwick killed his wife — 46-year-old Quee Choo Chadwick — and dumped her body in a gas station trash bin in San Diego County in 2012. He was arrested at the time near the Mexico border after the couple was reported missing by a neighbor.
Chadwick claimed that someone else killed his wife and forced him to load her body into a car and drive to the border. He later admitted to investigators that he made up the story, authorities said.
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.
But in 2015, authorities discovered Chadwick had disappeared when he failed to show up to a pretrial hearing in Orange County Superior Court. He was previously charged with one felony count of murder. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison.
Last year, Newport Beach police officials released the true-crime podcast “Countdown to Capture,” which authorities hoped would drum up interest in the case and lead to Chadwick’s arrest.
Authorities had long suspected that, even without passports, Chadwick probably had 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 disappeared, police said.
The Orange County district attorney’s office and the Newport Beach Police Department will hold a joint news conference Tuesday regarding Chadwick’s capture.
Colleen Shalby contributed to this report.