Newport Beach millionaire Peter Gregory Chadwick, wanted for more than four years after disappearing while awaiting trial on a charge of murdering his wife, is in custody of Newport Beach police, the Police Department said Monday.
Chadwick, 55, was arrested late Sunday out of the country and arrived in California early Monday, according to law enforcement sources.
Chadwick, sporting a mustache and goatee, was seen in footage released by CBS News walking through Los Angeles International Airport in handcuffs, accompanied by law enforcement officials from multiple agencies.
Police and other agencies did not provide details of his capture.
Chadwick pleaded not guilty Oct. 15, 2012, to one count of murder in the death five days earlier of his wife, Quee Choo Lim “Q.C.” Chadwick. A possible sentencing enhancement of murder for financial gain was later dismissed, Orange County court records show.
He was released on $1.5-million bond, ordered to surrender his passports and stay with his father in Santa Barbara to await trial.
However, Chadwick failed to appear in court Jan. 5, 2015, prompting the U.S. Marshals Service to help find him. He was sought on a $5-million arrest warrant.
Authorities learned that Chadwick had emptied millions of dollars from multiple bank accounts and researched how to “change one’s identity and live off the grid,” according to the Marshals Service. Though he was required to relinquish his passports, police believe the British-born real estate investor with dual U.S.-British citizenship could have left the country after draining his bank accounts.
In 2018, Chadwick was added to the Marshals Service’s 15 Most Wanted Fugitives list and authorities announced a $100,000 reward for information leading to his capture. The announcement was coupled with the release of a podcast by the Newport Beach Police Department called “Countdown to Capture.”
The podcast helped catapult Chadwick’s mugshot onto TV news broadcasts, Twitter feeds and media websites far beyond the range that Newport Beach police would normally reach.
“Our investigators have put together all the reports, the witness statements, the evidence that we need, and we’re confident in our case,” Newport Beach Police Chief Jon Lewis said in September. “The one thing missing is our defendant.”
Authorities alleged that Chadwick murdered his wife on Oct. 10, 2012, in a fit of rage in a dispute about a possible divorce and related financial issues. The couple had a troubled marriage, according to investigators.
On the day of the slaying, no one arrived to pick up the Chadwicks’ children from school, prompting another parent to drive the children home and then request a welfare check from Newport Beach police when neither Chadwick could be found, prosecutors said.
Police who searched the family’s Newport Coast home found signs of a bloody struggle, prosecutors said.
Chadwick was accused of driving to San Diego and dumping his wife’s body before contacting the San Diego Police Department. Newport Beach police arrested him in San Diego on Oct. 11, 2012.
When questioned by police, Chadwick claimed that someone else killed his wife and forced him to load her body into a car and drive to the border, authorities said. However, detectives who interviewed him had doubts, in part because of scratches on his neck and dried blood on his hands.
According to authorities, he later admitted that he made up the story.
Los Angeles Times staff writer Hannah Fry contributed to this report.