Police in California have adopted a novel way of hunting down a British millionaire suspected of killing his wife before vanishing while free on bail.
Capitalising on the viral success of true-crime podcasts such as Serial, they have written and produced their own six-part audio series in the hope it will spread the name of Peter Chadwick – and the story of his fall from quiet family man to fugitive – around the world.
Police in Newport Beach this week unveiled Countdown to Capture and issued a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Chadwick.
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"Peter could be anywhere in the world," Jon Lewis, police chief, told a news conference.
"He’s got the financial means to avoid the restrictions placed on his travel.
"He’s taken every opportunity to hide his tracks. We want to spread his picture and the story of his crimes far and wide."
Are you listening?? The Episode 2 of the "Countdown to Capture" podcast was released this morning. Listen (and see photos and evidence) at https://t.co/KY4p4WSX8C, or find it in your preferred podcast tool. pic.twitter.com/Xsc2Ye9Qol
— Newport Beach Police (@NewportBeachPD) September 20, 2018
The story begins on a Wednesday in October of 2012. A neighbour calls police to let them know that two of the couple’s three young sons had been left waiting for their lift home from school.
An officer drops by their house, but finds no-one home. Chadwick and his wife Quee Choo “QC” Chadwick had apparently disappeared.
A day later Chadwick telephoned 911 from a San Diego petrol station.
"The guy broke into my house. He drove me here. He had a friend. They, they just gone, they’ve gone in a pickup truck," he tells the dispatcher in a call included in episode two.
He explains that his wife has been killed by a handyman.
Officers arrive to find him covered in blood and scratches. They arrest him and his wife’s body was found a week later in a rubbish bin in San Diego.
He was released on $1 million bail but disappeared two years later after making 13 court appearances.
Chadwick, 54, had been married for 17 years.
He was born in the UK but became a naturalised US citizen in 1991, according to police, who said he had surrendered both passports.
"Peter Chadwick has a great deal of money at his disposal," said Jennifer Manzella, a police spokeswoman. "If you listen to the podcast you’ll find that he was able to empty millions of dollars out of bank accounts that he had access to, take out cash advances on credit cards."
She added that officers had discovered that Chadwick had been researching how to change identity and live out of sight.
He has also now been placed on the US Marshals Service Most Wanted List.