Peter Chadwick: Millionaire arrested over wife’s murder

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Police handout showing Peter Chadwick at the time of his arrest in 2012Image copyright
Newport County Police Department

A British-born millionaire suspected of murdering his wife at their California home has been arrested after spending four years on the run.

Peter Chadwick, 55, was captured in Mexico on Sunday and has been extradited to the US to face trial.

He has been in hiding since he failed to appear in court in January 2015.

Chadwick, a naturalised US citizen, was found thanks to a tip-off after police offered a $100,000 (£82,000) reward for information leading to his capture.

His case even inspired police to release a podcast – Countdown to Capture – which attracted hundreds of tip-offs from all over the world.

How was he found?

“We received a tip with some general information that… we could use to pinpoint [Chadwick’s] exact location,” Newport Beach Police Chief Jon Lewis told a press conference on Tuesday.

He said Chadwick was arrested by immigration officials near Mexico City on Sunday night before he was flown to Los Angeles and detained.

“We believe that [he] has been in Mexico since his disappearance,” Chief Lewis added. “He used a variety of aliases and obtained several fake IDs.

“He stayed in high-end hotels but when [they] began requiring passport identification he turned to more modest accommodation.”

“Today is sweet,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer added. “We apprehended a fugitive on America’s Most Wanted List.”

What is he accused of?

In 2012, Chadwick called police and said his wife, Quee Choo, had been killed by a handyman who had then taken him hostage inside their home in Newport Beach.

He said the killer had forced him to drive to Mexico to dump the body.

But police later found Chadwick, who made his millions in property development, close to the Mexican border. He was arrested after they found blood under his nails and scratches on his neck.

Image copyright
Newport Police Department

Image caption

Peter Chadwick is accused of killing his wife, Quee Choo, in 2012

Days later his wife’s body was found dumped in a bin near the Californian city of San Diego. Chadwick is accused of strangling her in a dispute over a possible divorce.

He was released in December 2012 on $1m bail after he gave up his UK and US passports. But two years later he disappeared.

Chadwick attempted to mislead police by leaving clues that he had fled to Canada, authorities said.

He has been charged with murder and is facing life in prison if found guilty.

True-crime podcasts with a real world impact

As well as Countdown to Capture, which led to police receiving hundreds of tip-offs regarding Peter Chadwick’s whereabouts, there have been plenty of other podcasts that appear to have helped with police investigations.

In Australia, a 2018 podcast called The Teacher’s Pet brought global attention to an unsolved mystery. It reinvestigated the case of Lynette Dawson, a mother-of-two from Sydney who disappeared in the early 1980s.

While police had been investigating the case for years, the podcast uncovered new witnesses and evidence and caught the attention of millions. Police arrested Lynette’s husband – Chris Dawson – in December 2018. He has consistently denied the charges and pleaded not guilty in June.

In 2018, In the Dark raised questions about a murder conviction in the US. The show’s second season told the story of Curtis Flowers, a black Mississippi man tried six times for the same crime by the same white prosecutor.

The Supreme Court quashed the conviction in June because the prosecution had excluded black jurors. He could still be put on trial for a seventh time.

Also in the US, the hit 2014 podcast Serial focused on the conviction of Adnan Syed, who was jailed for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee back in 2000. Its 12 episodes have been downloaded a record-breaking 175 million times.

A retrial was eventually ordered but, earlier this year, Syed was told he would not get a new trial following a state appeal.



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