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Newport Beach police search for suspected slain wife

The woman's husband is being held on suspicion of murder after being arrested in San Diego County. She disappeared on Wednesday.

October 13, 2012|By Richard Winton and Lauren Williams, Los Angeles Times

With her husband locked up on suspicion of murder after being arrested near the Mexican border, a woman who mysteriously disappeared from the couple's palatial home — where investigators found signs of a violent struggle — was being sought by Newport Beach police.

Peter Gregory Chadwick, 48, a business executive, was taken into custody Thursday on the 905 Freeway in San Diego County. Detectives are now retracing his movements since he left the home Wednesday and his 46-year-old wife, Quee "Q.C." Chadwick, vanished.

Police went to the Chadwicks' $2.5-million home on Almanzora on Wednesday evening in the exclusive Newport Coast development 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 that the struggle may have been fatal, police immediately launched a search for the Chadwicks.

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

He was behind the wheel of his 2004 Lexus SUV when taken into custody. Police would not say what Chadwick told them, but their investigation suggested that Quee Chadwick had been the victim of a homicide. The husband is being held in lieu of $1.5-million bail on suspicion of murder, Lowe said.

A neighbor said she heard shouting coming from the couple's home this week.

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

She said she thought it was an expression of momentary frustration by Quee Chadwick, possibly from getting the children ready for school. Normally the family is quiet and polite, and she never hears 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.

richard.winton@latimes.com

lauren.williams@latimes.com

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