How a Calif. Man with a Seemingly Perfect Life Killed His Wife, Then Went on the Lam After Posting Bail

In Feb. 2022, Peter Chadwick pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of his wife. He was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison

Peter Chadwick
Peter and Quee Choo Chadwick. Photo: Courtesy

The Chadwicks seemed like the perfect pair. Married for 21 years, the couple were raising three sons in a $2.5-million mansion in the tony California community of Newport Beach.

While Peter worked, Quee Choo, a Malaysia native affectionately known as "Q.C.," was a stay-at-home mom who doted on her children.

But everything changed on Oct. 10, 2012. Police were alerted to the couple's home when neither parent picked up two of their three sons from their private school in Huntington Beach.

At the home, police found an open safe in the downstairs office. In an upstairs bathroom was a broken red vase and blood spatter. And Q.C. was nowhere to be found.

"That's when it looked like something was suspicious," retired Lt. Ryan Peters of the Newport Beach Police Department said in an interview with 20/20, for a two-hour episode on the case airing Friday, Oct. 21 on ABC. (An exclusive clip of the episode is shown below.)

"Before I took a step, I realized that this did not look like the rest of the house. I could see a broken vase along the edge of the bathtub. Soon as I saw the blood, you knew there was a story there," Peters says.

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

Peter Chadwick
Peter Chadwick.

Police didn't buy it. In a subsequent interview, detectives noticed scratches on Chadwick's neck and dried blood on his hands, and he refused to answer questions about Q.C.'s death. Authorities concluded that Juan did not exist and that there had been simmering tensions between the couple over money and Chadwick's affairs.

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

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

the Chadwick's home. Newport Beach Police Department

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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 vanished without a trace.

U.S. Marshals, who were tasked with finding him, learned that Chadwick had been reading books on how to change his identity and "live off the grid."

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

In Feb. 2022, Chadwick pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of his wife. He was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

The two-hour 20/20 episode airs on Friday, Oct. 21 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC and the next day on Hulu.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. An estimated 10 million people per year are physically abused by an intimate partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

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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