Millionaire and Longtime Fugitive Peter Chadwick Pleads Guilty to Strangling, Drowning Wife in 2012

Chadwick took authorities to a dumpster in San Diego, where they found his wife's strangled body wrapped in a blanket

Peter Chadwick and Quee Choo
Peter and Quee Choo Chadwick. Photo: Courtesy Heidi Neal

A California multimillionaire and longtime fugitive pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder for killing his wife in 2012.

Peter Chadwick, 57, had been the focus of an international manhunt for four years after he vanished while awaiting trial for the strangling and drowning murder of his 46-year-old wife, Quee Choo Chadwick.

He was finally caught near Puebla, Mexico, on Aug. 4, 2019, after authorities learned that he was receiving assistance from people close to his family.

"I just want to express that I am truly sorry," Peter said during his sentencing in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, the Los Angeles Times reported.

According to friends, the Chadwicks appeared to be a perfect, placid pair, married for 21 years and raising three sons in a $2.5-million mansion in the Newport Beach area.

Peter Chadwick
Peter Chadwick. AP/Shutterstock

While Peter worked, Quee Choo, a Malaysia native affectionately known as "Q.C.," was a doting stay-at-home mom.

Yet investigators said there were simmering tensions, as Quee Choo discovered several affairs Peter had before she died.

Prosecutors believe that Peter killed his wife in their Newport Beach home on the morning of Oct. 10, 2012, "over a dispute regarding a possible divorce and related financial issues," according to an Orange County District Attorney's Office news release.

Police were first called to the couple's home later that day when neither parent picked up two of their three youngest sons from their private school in Huntington Beach.

At the Chadwick home, officers found an open safe in the downstairs office and a broken red vase and blood splatter in an upstairs bathroom.

Things took a grim turn the following day, when San Diego police received a 911 call from Peter from a pay phone at a local gas station. He claimed that a house painter he hired — named "Juan" — killed Quee Choo in the couple's bathroom.

Police didn't buy it. In a subsequent interview, detectives noticed scratches on Peter's neck and dried blood on his hands, and he refused to answer questions about Quee Choo's death. Authorities concluded that Juan did not exist.

Peter Chadwick
Peter Chadwick in court. Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty

He was arrested on Oct. 11 at the Mexico border in San Diego and charged with the murder of Quee Choo.

He took authorities to a dumpster in San Diego County where she was discovered wrapped in a blanket.

He posted $1 million bail after two months in jail and surrendered his passports. He was living with his father in Santa Barbara in 2015 when he disappeared before a court hearing.

Police promptly contacted the U.S. Marshals Service Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force in hopes of locating him.

After looking into his whereabouts, task force members discovered Peter had emptied his bank accounts of millions of dollars, according to the U.S. Marshals.

U.S. Marshals also learned that Peter had allegedly been reading books on how to change his identity and "live off the grid."

the Chadwick's home. Newport Beach Police Department

Peter's case captivated the nation's attention as police even released the true-crime podcast Countdown to Capture, which authorities hoped would lead to his arrest.

Before he was found, the U.S. Marshals added Peter to its 15 Most Wanted fugitive list and offered a $25,000 for any information leading to his arrest. An additional reward of $75,000 was offered from the City of Newport Beach and private donors.

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At his sentencing, Peter agreed to waive the time-served credits he had received while in custody. He was sentenced to 15 years to life.

His attorney could not be reached for comment.

"Three young boys lost their entire reality the day their mother was murdered by their father," said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer in a news release. "It took years of painstaking police work to track down this defendant in order to hold him accountable for the murder of his wife and the mother of his three sons."

"In making the decision to accept a guilty plea, we carefully considered the wishes of Q.C.'s family, especially her sons who have already suffered the loss not only of their mother but also of their father at such a young age," he continued.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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