California police hope podcast will help find millionaire fugitive
LOS ANGELES — A California police department has written and produced a six-episode true-crime podcast in hopes of intensifying a potentially global manhunt for a millionaire suspected of killing his wife in 2012 and later vanishing while free on bail.
Police in Newport Beach this week announced “Countdown to Capture,” which tells the story of how Peter Chadwick went from being a seemingly quiet family man to a suspect in his wife’s slaying and then a fugitive with millions of dollars.
Police Chief Jon T. Lewis also announced a $100,000 reward for information that was funded by private donors, the city and the U.S. Marshals Service, which added Chadwick to its list of 15 most wanted fugitives.
“Peter could be anywhere in the world,” Lewis told a news conference Wednesday in Newport Beach, a wealthy community around a yacht harbor south of Los Angeles.
“He’s got the financial means to avoid the restrictions placed on his travel,” Lewis said. “He’s taken every opportunity to hide his tracks. We want to spread his picture and the story of his crimes far and wide.”
Authorities say Chadwick and his wife, Quee — known as Q.C. — disappeared from their home on Oct. 10, 2012. Police initially became involved when two of their three young sons were left waiting for a ride home from school.
Chadwick called 911 from a San Diego gas station the next day and told authorities his wife was killed by a handyman who kidnapped him and brought along the body.
Chadwick quickly became the suspect, however, and was arrested. His wife’s body was found a week later in a trash bin in suburban San Diego.
Chadwick was released on $1 million bail in December 2012. Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said the defendant made 13 court appearances before he failed to appear for a hearing in January 2015 and became a fugitive.
Chadwick was born in the United Kingdom and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1991. Both his U.S. and U.K. passports were seized when he was released on bail, said Jennifer Manzella, a police spokeswoman.
“Peter Chadwick has a great deal of money at his disposal,” Manzella said. “If you listen to the podcast you’ll find that he was able to empty millions of dollars out of bank accounts that he had access to, take out cash advances on credit cards.”
A fugitive task force found that Chadwick had been “reading material about living off the grid and changing your identity,” Manzella said.
Chadwick has covered his tracks and leads have been exhausted, she said.