NEWPORT BEACH, CA — When millionaire real estate mogul Peter Gregory Chadwick was charged with the murder of his wife Quee in 2012, the news sent shockwaves through the posh, gated community in Newport Beach, California, where the couple lived. And three years later, Chadwick disappeared off the face of the earth, and sparked a manhunt that continues to baffle law enforcement.
In the early morning hours of October 9, 2012, a neighbor heard Quee Chadwick screaming inside the couple’s $2.5 million dollar home. At the time, the neighbor dismissed the noises. According to the Newport Beach Police Department, the couple had been arguing over getting divorced.
British-born Peter and Quee Chadwick had been married for 21 years, and friends described Quee as a devoted mother to their three sons.
It was not until the following evening when neighbors, who became alarmed after the boys had not been picked up from school, called police.
Responding officers saw no signs of forced entry — but inside the home, they found traces of blood and signs of a struggle in the master bathroom. A safe was open, and it was empty.
Police immediately started searching for the couple.
At around 5:30 the following morning, Chadwick called the San Diego Police and said he needed assistance along the 905 freeway, near the Mexican border.
He told investigators that a house painter named “Juan” had murdered his wife in their bathroom and forced him to load her body into his champagne-colored 2003 Lexus SUV.
Based on information provided by Chadwick, Quee’s body was found in a trash dumpster in Lakeside, a suburb of San Diego. Police charged Peter with a single felony count of murder for financial gain, and he was held on $1.5 million bail. But they later began to doubt that money was the motive, since both Chadwick and his wife came from wealthy backgrounds.
During the investigation, police learned that Chadwick had allegedly been unfaithful, and hired prostitutes. They speculated that Quee had discovered his betrayal, leading to their dispute.
Even though prosecutors considered Chadwick a flight risk, his bail was lowered to $1 million. He paid it and — though Newport Beach Police were holding his passport and travel documents — did not show up for a court hearing in January 2015.
The judge issued an arrest warrant for 50-year-old Chadwick, who faces 25 years to life in prison if he is ever convicted. Some family members believe that he may have committed suicide. Others think it is likely that he could have fled to Mexico, or possibly obtained a passport on the black market.
All he left behind, authorities say, was a book on how to disappear — and, of course, his three devastated sons, who have lost both parents.
Police have asked anyone with information about Chadwick’s location to contact the Newport Beach Police Department at 1 (800) 550-NBPD.
Main photo: Quee Chadwick and Peter Chadwick [Image via Investigation Discovery – screenshot]