A millionaire property tycoon on the US Marshals’ most wanted fugitives list has been arrested over the murder of his wife after four years on the run.
Peter Chadwick, 55, who was born in the UK but is a naturalised US citizen, was arrested by immigration officials in Mexico on Sunday and taken to Los Angeles.
The investor, from the affluent Californian city of Newport Beach, is charged with strangling Quee Choo Chadwick, his wife of 21 years, and dumping her body in a bin.
He skipped $1m (£820,000) bail after missing a pre-trial court appearance in 2015, leaving clues suggesting he had gone to Canada.
But investigators now believe he was in Mexico all along.
Newport Beach police chief Jon Lewis told reporters Chadwick, who had several fake IDs, stayed in high-end resorts and hotels until they required a passport.
He then moved to more modest hostels and worked odd jobs to generate cash, he said.
“We believe Peter Chadwick has been in Mexico since his disappearance,” Chief Lewis said.
The strangled body of Quee Choo Chadwick, known as QC, was found in a bin in a suburb of San Diego in 2012.
Detectives found a broken vase, drops of blood on the floor and QC’s mobile phone and wedding ring at the home they shared with their three sons.
Chief Lewis said Chadwick claimed a handyman had killed his wife, kidnapped him and forced him to drive to Mexico to dump her body, but quickly became the chief suspect.
But the businessman was found covered in blood and scratches and was arrested after leading police to his wife’s body.
Released on bail, Chadwick had his US and UK passports confiscated and at first attended court appearances.
But in 2015, he vanished from his father’s home in California after withdrawing millions of dollars from bank accounts and looking into how to change one’s identity.
In 2018, he was added to the US Marshals’ most-wanted fugitive list and a $100,000 (£82,000) reward was offered for tips leading to his capture.
Newport Beach police wrote and produced a six-episode “true crime” podcast about the case which generated “hundreds of tips”, but they wouldn’t say where the lead that led to his arrest came from.
David Singer, US Marshal for the Central District of California, said Chadwick, who was helped by “those close to his family”, was eventually found in a residence in Atlixco, south of Mexico City, a part of the country popular with US expatriates.
He had “numerous false identification documents” when he was arrested, Mr Singer said.
Chadwick is expected to appear in court in Santa Ana later, where prosecutors will ask that he be held without bail.
He is charged with murder and could be jailed for 25 years to life if convicted.