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Newport exec allegedly killed wife after divorce, money fight

October 15, 2012 |  1:24 pm

A Newport Coast man allegedly killed his wife after a dispute over a possible divorce and financial issues, the Orange County district attorney’s office said Monday.

Peter Gregory Chadwick, 48, is facing one felony charge of murder for financial gain and is expected to be arraigned later Monday.

Chadwick was taken into custody last Thursday in San Diego County at the Mexican border, and detectives are now retracing his movements after he reportedly left his upscale home in the Newport Beach enclave the previous day. His wife, Quee "Q.C." Chadwick, 46, vanished around the same time, authorities said.

A fight between the couple reportedly took place early last Wednesday, and a neighbor noticed something seemed wrong when no one picked up the couple's children from school that afternoon, prosecutors said.

Quee Chadwick's body has not been found, though Newport Beach detectives said they scoured areas Peter Chadwick traveled between Wednesday and Thursday morning, police said.

Newport Beach police asked for the public's help Monday, releasing a photo of a similar vehicle matching Chadwick's 2003 champagne-colored Lexus SUV.

Yulianna Nikulina, who lives next door, said she was home the day of the suspected slaying and didn't hear anything. But earlier in the week, she said, either on Monday or Tuesday, she said she heard Quee Chadwick scream about 6:30 or 7 a.m.

She said she thought it was just an expression of momentary frustration, possibly from getting the children ready for school. Normally the family is quiet and polite, and she didn't recall ever hearing fighting or yelling from the home.

Peter Chadwick was "always nice, nothing wrong, nothing special," she said. "I can only tell you good things about this couple."

Nikulina said she and other neighbors had already been questioned by police.

Police went to the Chadwicks' $2.5-million home on Almanzora on Wednesday evening after a neighbor alerted authorities that no one had come to pick up the couple's children from school, said Newport police spokeswoman Kathy Lowe. The children are 8, 10 and 14 years old.

When officers entered the five-bedroom, European-style home, they discovered "evidence of a struggle and possible foul play," she said. Concerned, police launched a search for the Chadwicks.

The Chadwicks' whereabouts remained a mystery until 5:30 a.m. Thursday when Peter Chadwick called San Diego police asking for "assistance," police said.

He is being held in lieu of $1.5-million bail.

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— Lauren Williams and Richard Winton

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