(NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.) — A prominent California real estate investor who pleaded not guilty to killing his wife for financial gain now claims another man did the killing and forced the real estate mogul to bury the body.
Peter Chadwick, 48, told police investigators that someone else had killed Quee Chadwick, 46, behind the walls of their sprawling multi-million-dollar mansion in Newport Beach, Calif., according to the Los Angeles Times, and forced Chadwick to load her body into his Lexus and dispose of it somewhere near the U.S.-Mexico border.
“It appears the relationship had been on the rocks for a period of time,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy told ABC station KABC-TV. “It looks like there was a possible divorce. There’s a lot of money involved. …”
Neighbors grew suspicious when Quee Chadwick, known to friends as “QC,” didn’t pick up her children at the bus stop last Wednesday, and they contacted the Newport Beach Police Department. A neighbor had also reported hearing screams from the house earlier in the week, according to the Daily Pilot.
“So we responded to the home and discovered signs of a struggle and possible foul play,” Kathy Lowe, a spokeswoman for the Newport Beach Police Department, told KABC-TV, although police did not recover a body at the scene.
Chadwick was arrested last Thursday, four miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, after he’d called San Diego police.
A widespread search for the mother of three has been under way.
“Mr. Chadwick was in his car for about 18 hours with the body, so it could be anywhere in Southern California right now,” Murphy said.
A California highway patrol officer happened to be tailing Chadwick’s car on his drive south, and said there were no other passengers in the car, reported the Los Angeles Times.
Authorities said Chadwick’s story didn’t add up.
“There’s a lot of forensic evidence we’ve recovered. There’s also a series of witnesses that have been interviewed, and we’re confident when the facts come out in court it’s going to be very clear,” Murphy said.
Chadwick’s attorney, Robert Sanger, said that he would not comment on the case. His client is currently being held in the Orange County jail on $1.5 million bail.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire