Video: Look inside Peter Chadwick’s life on the run in Mexico

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Chadwick had been arrested for murdering his wife Q.C. in 2012.

During the years he lived as a fugitive in Mexico, Peter Chadwick, who was wanted by U.S. authorities for the murder of his wife Q.C. in 2012, went by a few aliases, one of them was the name, Paul Cook.

ABC News Correspondent Bob Woodruff and his producers traveled to Mexico, where they spoke to people who provided ABC News with previously unreported details and documents about this case.

A special “20/20” that airs Friday, Oct. 21, at 9 p.m. ET takes a look at Peter Chadwick’s life on the lam in Mexico and the tireless effort by law enforcement authorities to track him down.

After fleeing the U.S., where Peter had been charged with his wife’s murder in their Newport Beach, California, home in 2012, he crossed the border on foot without a passport, hopping from town to town, before landing in Pátzcuaro, 4 hours west of Mexico City. There he settled in for nearly 2 years, buying a condo, and finding work.

While in Mexico, Chadwick was telling people that his family had died in the infamous Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that disappeared in 2014.

People who knew Peter, aka Paul, such as Rick Davis, said there was always something mysterious about him.

“He never was up front,” Davis told ABC News Correspondent Bob Woodruff during the “20/20” interview about the Chadwick murder. When speaking with him “he wouldn’t look at you,” Davis said.

PHOTO: This undated booking photo provided by the Newport Beach, Calif., Police Department shows Peter Chadwick.
This undated booking photo provided by the Newport Beach, Calif., Police Department shows Peter Chadwick.Newport Beach Police Department via AP

ABC News learned details about a close friendship Chadwick had while in Pátzcuaro with a local woman named Claudia Soto.

In May 2016, Peter, Claudia, and her sister, Adriana Segovia were on their way back from a concert in a nearby town when they were involved in a car accident that killed Claudia while leaving her sister, Adriana, in a coma for 15 days.

While Peter and Adriana were taken to different hospitals, the Soto family says they were called into the District Attorney’s office to sign a legal document exempting Paul Cook from all liability.

PHOTO: Adriana Segovia during an interview with ABC News.
Adriana Segovia during an interview with ABC News.ABC News

“Everything that that paper has, I didn’t say it,” Claudia’s mother Esperanza Segovia told ABC News. “That whole paper is lies.”

The Michoacan Attorney General’s transparency unit told ABC News that the document is part of their investigation.

After the accident, Chadwick left Pátzcuaro and went to a town called Valle de Bravo, where he said he worked as a dishwasher in a cafe and taught English lessons to make money.

He saw himself on an investigative report on TV and decided to flee, this time going to the city of Cholula.

“Peter’s life was closed in,” said José Islas Cruz, a Mexican federal police officer. “He didn’t go out much. He was very scared of being recognized.”

With coordination between Mexican and US authorities, Chadwick was tracked down. They were able to locate him based on a call he made from a pay phone and they arrested him in August 2019. Later in a debrief with police, Chadwick claimed he was planning on leaving Cholula the next morning.

PHOTO: Rick Davis speaking with ABC News' Bob Woodruff in Patzcuaro, Mexico.
Rick Davis speaking with ABC News’ Bob Woodruff in Patzcuaro, Mexico.ABC News

Back in Newport Beach, his former neighbors were sharing the news.

“We’re just flooded with text messages,” neighbor Heidi Pascal told ABC News’s, Bob Woodruff. “Everybody, ‘did you hear this? Did you hear that?’ It was just – thank God. Thank God he was arrested. We thank God they found him finally. And they’ll bring him to justice.”

Adriana Segovia, the car accident survivor, said her response to the news was “God exists.” “God is just,” she said.

On the phone with his eldest son, Ben, after his arrest, Peter Chadwick expressed remorse. “I’m so sorry for all this messing up your life,” he said over the phone. “And what happened to Mom, obviously? And everything. I’m so sorry. I screwed up.”

Appearing in court in February 2022, Chadwick pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

PHOTO: A copy of a picture of Peter and Quee Choo Chadwick that was shown during a press conference announcing the capture of Peter Chadwick  in Santa Ana, Calif., Aug 6, 2019.
A copy of a picture of Peter and Quee Choo Chadwick that was shown during a press conference announcing the capture of Peter Chadwick in Santa Ana, Calif., Aug 6, 2019.Orange County Register via Getty Images

Matt Murphy, a former Orange County prosecutor and ABC News Contributor, said Chadwick will have to do “12 years minimum in California State Prison before he’s eligible for parole.”

Matt Murphy believes, when that hearing happens, the “family in Mexico should have a voice.”

Fugitive Peter Chadwick is sentenced to 15 years after pleading guilty to killing his wife in 2012 and then dumping her body in a trash can: British-born millionaire spent four years on the run in Mexico posing as a spy with fake Agents of Shield IDs

Millionaire fugitive Peter Chadwick, who spent four years evading U.S authorities, has been sentenced to 15 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to killing his wife in 2012.

British-born Chadwick, 57, strangled and drowned his 46-year-old wife Quee Choo Chadwick in the bathroom of their Newport Beach ocean-view home in California on October 10, 2012, before dumping her body in a dumpster in San Diego, prosecutors said.

For over four years, Chadwick was hunted by the police after he fled the US while free on a $1 million bond on suspicion of his wife’s murder.

U.S. authorities, working closely with Mexican police, eventually found the international fugitive in 2019 in Puebla, near Mexico City and arrested him. 

When Chadwick was searched, it emerged that the wealthy real-estate investor had posed as a spy and used a bogus ID card from the Marvel TV show Agents of Shield while on the run.

Now, nearly 10 years after Quee’s murder, Chadwick has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder under a plea agreement on Wednesday at Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana and was immediately sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

Millionaire fugitive Peter Chadwick, who spent four years evading U.S authorities, has been sentenced to 15 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to killing his wife in 2012

Millionaire fugitive Peter Chadwick, who spent four years evading U.S authorities, has been sentenced to 15 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to killing his wife in 2012

British-born Chadwick, 57, strangled and drowned his 46-year-old wife Quee Choo Chadwick in the bathroom of their Newport Beach ocean-view home in California on October 10, 2012 before dumping her body in a dumpster in San Diego, prosecutors said

British-born Chadwick, 57, strangled and drowned his 46-year-old wife Quee Choo Chadwick in the bathroom of their Newport Beach ocean-view home in California on October 10, 2012 before dumping her body in a dumpster in San Diego, prosecutors said

Chadwick, who was facing a first-degree murder charge but accepted a plea deal on a lesser count, tearfully told an Orange County judge that he was sorry for killing Quee, calling her a loving and caring person, the Orange County Register reported. 

‘I wish I could take it back,’ Chadwick said. ‘I compounded that by running away from it. I destroyed everything, so I deserve whatever the court decides.’

‘She was a great person,’ Chadwick added. ‘So loving. She cared for everyone.’ 

As part of his plea deal, Chadwick was not allowed to take any time off his prison sentence for time he has already served in county prison whilst awaiting trial.  

Chadwick strangled his wife, who was originally from Malaysia, on October 10, 2012 at their Newport Beach home during an argument over a possible divorce and financial issues, prosecutors said.

That afternoon, two of the couple’s three sons – then 8, 10 and 14-years-old – were found abandoned at a school bus stop after their parents failed to pick them up from school. 

Another parent drove the children home and then requested a welfare check from the Newport Beach Police Department when neither Chadwick or Quee could be found.   

As a result, police went to the home to check on the Chadwicks and officers found blood stains in a bathtub and signs of a struggle in the master bedroom, including broken glass and a bloody towel, authorities said.  

Chadwick, who was facing a first-degree murder charge but accepted a plea deal on a lesser count, tearfully told an Orange County judge that he was sorry for killing Quee, calling her a loving and caring person

Chadwick, who was facing a first-degree murder charge but accepted a plea deal on a lesser count, tearfully told an Orange County judge that he was sorry for killing Quee, calling her a loving and caring person

Peter Chadwick is left by Orange County Sheriff's Deputies into the courtroom at Orange County Superior Court before pleading guilty to second-degree murder on Wednesday

Peter Chadwick is left by Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies into the courtroom at Orange County Superior Court before pleading guilty to second-degree murder on Wednesday 

Chadwick surfaced the next day and called San Diego police from a gas station to tell him that his wife had been killed and he was near the Mexican border. He was picked up that day in San Ysidro. 

He initially claimed that a handyman named Juan killed his wife and then forced him to drive to Mexico to dispose of her body but officers were suspicious after they saw scratches on Chadwick’s neck and dried blood on his hands, according to court filings.  

Chadwick later led Newport Beach investigators to her body, which was found wrapped in a blanket and thrown in a dumpster in the San Diego suburb of Lakeside. He then admitted that his story about a handyman killing his wife was made up and was arrested and charged with Quee’s murder. 

While awaiting trial for murder, Chadwick was released on a $1 million bond, gave up his American and British passports and agreed to live with his father, a wealthy investor, in Santa Barbara on December 21, 2012. 

He appeared at hearings for two years before authorities discovered he had vanished in January 2015 when he did not appear at a pre-trial hearing. When police went to the home in Santa Barbara, family members told officers they did not know where Chadwick was. 

But when officers returned a month later, Chadwick’s father allegedly said he had left for Seattle.   

Chadwick became an international fugitive and was placed on a U.S. Marshals Service’s 15 most-wanted list and a $100,000 reward was offered for his capture. 

Chadwick was born in the United Kingdom but became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1991 when he married Quee, his college sweetheart. 

Despite handing over his passports, Chadwick, who had several aliases and fake IDs, was able to flee the country and empty millions of dollars out of bank accounts that he had access to and take out cash advances on credit cards.

British-born Chadwick with his wife Quee Choo Chadwick and their three sons

British-born Chadwick with his wife Quee Choo Chadwick and their three sons

Chadwick strangled his wife, who was originally from Malaysia, on October 10, 2012 at their Newport Beach home during an argument over a possible divorce and financial issues, prosecutors said

Chadwick strangled his wife, who was originally from Malaysia, on October 10, 2012 at their Newport Beach home during an argument over a possible divorce and financial issues, prosecutors said.

US authorities searched for Chadwick across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. 

Prosecutors said Chadwick had ‘strategically placed indicators’ such as receipts from the Seattle area and literature about living in Canada in his father’s home. 

Investigators found several books apparently owned by Chadwick at the Santa Barbara home with the titles: ‘How to Change Your Identity’ and ‘How to Live on the Run Successfully.’

Security footage from the Santa Barbara airport from January 9 2015 showed Chadwick arriving in a taxi but leaving six hours later in a different taxi wearing different clothes.    

His mobile phone had also been turned off the same day and was later found in a trash dump, while his bank accounts had also been drained, including $600,000 from an account called the ‘Chadwick Family Trust’, later that month. 

Authorities learned that Chadwick was receiving assistance from people close to his family, and the investigation led to Mexico, where he was detained by Mexican immigration authorities on August 4, 2019 near Puebla, Mexico.

Authorities said Chadwick who had several aliases and fake IDs – stayed at high-end resorts in Mexico but when he needed to show a passport he moved to more modest hostels and residences such as the duplex where he was arrested in an expat community near Puebla.  

His three children were left in the US to live with family members.  

‘Three young boys lost their entire reality the day their mother was murdered by their father,’ said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer after Chadwick was sentenced for Quee’s murder. 

‘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. 

Peter Chadwick, who is charged with killing his wife in their Newport Beach home in 2012, attends a pretrial hearing on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019

Peter Chadwick, who is charged with killing his wife in their Newport Beach home in 2012, attends a pretrial hearing on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019

We are forever grateful for the partnership of the Newport Beach Police Department, the U.S. Marshals, and the Mexican authorities in capturing this killer and helping us ensure justice is done for Q.C.’ 

Quee’s brother and sister said in written statements read to the court described her as a ‘chatty, inquisitive and compassionate woman who was devoted to her family.

‘It is incomprehensible how anyone could do such a thing to another human, let alone his wife and (the) mother of three young children,’ her older sister wrote. ‘I will never understand how after hurting her, Peter was so barbarically able to dump her body as if she was a worthless piece of trash.’ 

How multimillionaire real estate investor slipped out of America while on bail for killing his wife 

Chadwick strangled his wife Quee Choo Chadwick, who was originally from Malaysia, on October 10, 2012 at their Newport Beach home during an argument over a possible divorce and financial issues, prosecutors said.

That day, officers found blood stains in a bathtub and signs of a struggle in the master bedroom, including broken glass and a bloody towel, authorities said.

Chadwick surfaced the next day and called San Diego police from a gas station to tell him that his wife had been killed and he was near the Mexican border. He was picked up that day in San Ysidro. 

He was later arrested and charged with her murder.   

While awaiting trial for murder, Chadwick was released on a $1 million bond, gave up his American and British passports and agreed to live with his father, a wealthy investor, in Santa Barbara on December 21, 2012. 

He appeared at hearings for two years before authorities discovered he had vanished in January 2015 when he did not appear at a pre-trial hearing. When police went to the home in Santa Barbara, family members told officers they did not know where Chadwick was.

But when officers returned a month later, Chadwick’s father allegedly said he had left for Seattle.   

Chadwick became an international fugitive and was placed on a U.S. Marshals Service’s 15 most-wanted list and a $100,000 reward was offered for his capture.  

Despite handing over his passports, Chadwick, who had several aliases and fake IDs, was able to flee the country and empty millions of dollars out of bank accounts that he had access to and take out cash advances on credit cards.

US authorities searched for Chadwick across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. 

Prosecutors said Chadwick had ‘strategically placed indicators’ such as receipts from the Seattle area and literature about living in Canada in his father’s home. 

Investigators found several books apparently owned by Chadwick at the Santa Barbara home with the titles: ‘How to Change Your Identity’ and ‘How to Live on the Run Successfully.’

Security footage from the Santa Barbara airport from January 9 2015 showed Chadwick arriving in a taxi but leaving six hours later in a different taxi wearing different clothes.    

His mobile phone had also been turned off the same day and was later found in a trash dump, while his bank accounts had also been drained, including $600,000 from an account called the ‘Chadwick Family Trust’, later that month. 

Authorities learned that Chadwick was receiving assistance from people close to his family, and the investigation led to Mexico, where he was detained by Mexican immigration authorities on August 4, 2019, near Puebla, Mexico.

Authorities said Chadwick who had several aliases and fake IDs – stayed at high-end resorts in Mexico but when he needed to show a passport he moved to more modest hostels and residences such as the duplex where he was arrested in an expat community near Puebla.  

Mexico Daily Post