Bail denied for millionaire fugitive Peter Chadwick charged with wife's 2012 murder

Officials say intense coverage by media put pressure on the murder suspect who was captured in Mexico this week after being on the run since January 2015

Millionaire murder suspect caught in Mexico
Millionaire murder suspect caught in Mexico 01:51

A millionaire murder suspect has been ordered held without bail in California after he was arrested and deported by Mexican authorities after more four years on the run. A judge ruled 55-year-old Peter Chadwick would be held without bail, but his lawyer reserved the right to request bail in the future.

Chadwick is charged with one felony count of murder and faces a maximum sentence of 25 years-to-life in state prison if convicted.

The focus of an international manhunt, Chadwick vanished in January 2015 after failing to appear in court on a charge for murdering his wife Quee Choo "Q.C." Chadwick in their Newport Beach home on Oct. 10, 2012. At the time of his disappearance, the real estate investor was out on $1.5 million bail. He was later added to the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted list.

Chadwick was detained Sunday near an area of Puebla, Mexico, popular with expats by Mexican authorities and flown to California on Monday. His first court appearance was on Wednesday.

"48 Hours" had the only news crew on scene when Peter Chadwick, who disappeared in 2015 after he was charged with killing his wife, landed in Los Angeles. CBS News

Newport Beach Police Chief Jon Lewis said in a news conference on Tuesday, "We believe Peter Chadwick has been in Mexico since his disappearance."

Law enforcement said Peter Chadwick used aliases and fake ID's to live off the grid for more than four years.

Authorities said Chadwick called 911 a day after his 46-year-old wife disappeared from their home in 2012 and said she was killed by a handyman who kidnapped him. He quickly became the suspect, however, and her body was found a week later in a trash bin in suburban San Diego.

Peter Chadwick to 911: "My wife's dead ... Th... 02:38

On Tuesday, authorities said Chadwick tried throwing off investigators. "Chadwick strategically placed indicators that he was headed to Canada at his father's residence," said U.S. Marshal David Singer.

Authorities said he was actually hiding out in Mexico -- first at high-end resorts, then motels and hostels -- working odd jobs to make money. Even though he fled with nearly a million in cash.

"He went from a real estate millionaire to busing tables?" CBS News correspondent Tracy Smith asked U.S. Marshal Craig McCluskey. "Right. I think he was just desperate to fit in and stay on the run," he replied.

Officials said intense coverage by media -- including "48 Hours" -- put pressure on Chadwick.

"The media coverage made him trip up?" Smith asked McCluskey. "I think that caused an incredible amount of stress in his life," he replied.

A pretrial hearing was postponed until Sept. 16.   

"48 Hours" and correspondent Tracy Smith will have the latest in the case in "Peter Chadwick: Caught" airing Saturday at 10/9c on CBS.  

The Associated Press contributed to this report.