See Update No. 5 at the end of this post about the husband blaming a house painter for his wife's death and why police aren't buying that story.
See Update Nos. 1-4 with the charge against and possible motive of the suspect, the kind of car he was driving, what authorities are calling his false murder report, his plea at arraignment and the victim's body being found and positively identified.
ORIGINAL POST, OCT. 15, 9:33 A.M.: Quee Chadwick is missing, but Newport Beach Police suspect Peter Gregory Chadwick, a prominent 48-year-old real estate investor, not only knows where his wife is but that he murdered her.
There is evidence of a violent struggle in the multi-million-dollar Chadwick home, according to Newport Beach Police, who is being held in Orange County Jail in lieu of $1.5 million bail.
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Based on various sources, we can now string together this timeline:
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- Around 6:30-7 a.m. a week ago today or Tuesday, a next-door neighbor heard Quee “Q.C.” Chadwick screaming inside her home on Almanzora, which is within a gated neighborhood in Newport Coast. The neighbor did not report this at the time, figured Ms. Chadwick was momentarily frustrated.
- About 7 p.m. Wednesday, neighbors contacted the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) because the Chadwick children had not been picked up from school that day. A look through the home indicated a struggle had taken place and foul play was suspected, although police have not yet gone into great detail about it. Police then launched a search for Peter Chadwick and his 46-year-old wife.
- Around 5:30 a.m. Thursday, Mr. Chadwick contacted San Diego Police by phone to say he needed assistance along the 905 freeway, near Tijuana. Newport Beach Police have also not gone into detail about the nature of the assistance Chadwick requested, but the agency confirms that call is what made them suspect he'd murdered Quee. Working together with their San Diego counterparts, Newport Beach officers arrested Chadwick on suspicion of murder.
Chadwick was transferred to Orange County Jail on Sunday.
Investigators are now trying to determine where Chadwick had driven in the hours after he left his Almanzora home until he was picked up near the border. He had been driving a champagne-colored 2003 Lexus SUV. Anyone who may have seen a vehicle fitting that description at the side of a road, or who has any information that can help investigators, is asked to call Newport Beach Police Det. Bryan Moore at 949.644.3764 or the department's main line, 800.550.6273.
UPDATE NO. 1, OCT. 15, 12:29 P.M.: Peter Gregory Chadwick murdered his wife in their Newport Coast estate and disposed of her body elsewhere because of a dispute over a possible divorce and other money-related issues, an Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) arraignment statement essentially concludes.
Chadwick, who the OCDA will request be held without bail, was scheduled to be arraigned some time today on one felony count of special circumstances murder for financial gain, which could send him to state prison for life without the possibility
of parole with a conviction.
Most of the other information released by the OCDA, whose veteran homicide prosecutor Matt Murphy drew the case, was previously disclosed by Newport Beach Police. The OCDA does narrow down the time of the presumed killing to last Monday morning, Oct. 8, and reveals blood was later found in the Chadwick home. Besides Detective Moore, whose contact information is in the original post, more information is being solicited from the public by Supervising District Attorney Investigator Randy Litwin at 714.347.8492.
UPDATE NO. 2, OCT. 16, 10:06 A.M.: Newport Beach Police Department spokeswoman Kathy Lowe says the actual SUV Peter Gregory Chadwick
was driving when he was arrested Thursday is in police custody, but the agency has released this photograph of a similar-looking vehicle in case the public recalls seeing it alongside a road:
Chadwick had been driving a champagne-colored 2003 Lexus SUV. Police believe the United Kingdom native murdered his wife in their Newport Coast estate and disposed of her body
somewhere near the border between Wednesday and 5:30 a.m. Thursday, when he called San Diego Police, Lowe said.
The husband told San Diego cops a man murdered his wife and forced Chadwick to load her into his SUV, a source tells the Daily Pilot.
Chadwick pleaded not guilty at his arraignment hearing Monday in Central Jail, Santa Ana.
UPDATE NO. 3, OCT. 19, 7:50 A.M.: Authorities believe the body of Quee Chadwick may have been found in a San Diego County dumpster Thursday. This statement was posted on the Newport Beach Police Department website last night:
October 18, 2012 at approximately 3:30 p.m. Newport Beach Police
Department Detectives responded to the 12000 block of Wildcat Canyon
Road in the Lakeside area of San Diego County in regards to an
investigative lead in the disappearance and homicide of Quee “Q.C.”
Chadwick. The body of a female was discovered in a dumpster at the above
location however it has not been identified.
Police Detectives are currently working with the San Diego County
Sheriff's Department and San Diego County Medical Examiner to positively
identify the remains.
Anyone who may
have information is asked to contact the Newport Beach Police
Department at (800) 550-NBPD or Detective Bryan Moore at (949) 644-3764.
The public is encouraged to call with any information and messages can
be left anonymously if desired.
Because of his wealth and possibility of being a flight risk, a hold has reportedly been placed on the $1.5 million bail of multi-millionaire Peter Chadwick, who remains locked up at Men's Central Jail in Santa Ana this morning.
UPDATE NO. 4, OCT. 19, 5:26 P.M.: Quee Chadwick was positively identified this afternoon by the San Diego coroner, according to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney's office.
Cause of death is yet to be determined, prosecutors added.
UPDATE NO. 5, OCT. 29, 9:10 A.M.: Peter Chadwick told Newport Beach police a house painter killed his wife Quee, according to a search warrant affidavit viewed by KCBS2 News.
“Peter provided a statement that his wife was murdered in their master
bathroom by a man who he had invited to their home to give an estimate
for interior painting services,” police claim Mr. Chadwick told them hours after his wife's murder. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment.
But police are not buying that explanation, alleging Chadwick told “lies” because of something else mentioned in the affidavit: injuries, including scratches and bite marks on Chadwick, that are consistent with the kind of violent struggle evidenced in his Newport Coast home.
Now that Quee Chadwick's decomposed body has been found, police plan to return to Peter's holding cell with a medical examiner to look even harder at those marks on him, including whether a bite mark on his arm could have been made by his wife.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.