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A California man accused of killing his wife has been captured by authorities in Mexico after four years on the run.
Peter Chadwick, 54, is suspected of strangling his wife of 21 years to death in their Newport Beach home on Oct. 10, 2012, and then throwing her body in a trash dumpster in San Diego County, according to the U.S. Marshals.
Chadwick was arrested and charged with the murder of 46-year-old Quee Chadwick, but before the case ever went to trial, Chadwick disappeared and became one of the U.S. Marshals Service 15 most wanted fugitives.
Chadwick’s time on the run came to an end on Sunday when he was arrested in Mexico, law enforcement sources told KCBS-TV. Chadwick was returned to California early Monday.
Authorities believe Chadwick killed his wife during an argument at their home then dumped her body in a gas station trash bin in San Diego County. He was arrested a short time later near the Mexico border after one of the couple’s neighbors reported the pair missing, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Chadwick told authorities his wife had been killed by a handyman, who had forced him to load his wife’s body into the car and then drive to the border. However, investigators who interviewed Chadwick doubted his story after finding scratches on his neck and dried blood on his hands, the U.S. Marshals said.
Investigators also found blood and signs of a struggle at the couple’s home.
He was arrested the following day and charged with the murder of his wife, but was later released after posting a $1.5 million bond. Chadwick, who had pleaded not guilty to the charge against him, was instructed to surrender his passports and had planned to stay with his father in Santa Barbara while he awaited the trial.
However, on Jan. 5, 2015, Chadwick failed to show up at a court hearing. The father of three boys had vanished after emptying his bank accounts “worth millions,” the U.S. Marshals said. Authorities also discovered that Chadwick had allegedly been reading about how to change one’s identity and live off the grid before he disappeared.
“It is hard to imagine what kind of individual could commit a crime like this, especially against his own spouse,” U.S. Marshal David Singer of the Central District of California said at the time. “We are determined to bring Chadwick to justice and give some sense of closure to the victim’s family.”
Authorities were able to deliver on their promise Monday. The former fugitive was brought back to the United States and taken to the Newport Beach Police Department. Officials plan to hold a press conference about Chadwick’s capture later Tuesday.
Those who knew Quee Chadwick said they are pleased Peter Chadwick is finally back in custody.
“Peter Chadwick needs to answer for what he’s done. It’s time,” neighbor Karen Thorp told KCBS-TV. “It’s just absolutely wrong that he got away with this for so long. … Sometimes people are never caught and Peter Chadwick is now having to come to terms for what he did.”
She called the arrest a “blessing” for Quee Chadwick’s family.
“I want him to get justice and I believe justice is for him to serve the rest of his life in prison,” she said.
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