"It appears that the relationship had been on the rocks for a period of time," said prosecutor Matt Murphy.
According to the district attorney's office, Peter Chadwick killed his wife last Wednesday over a dispute over a possible divorce and related financial issues. He allegedly disposed of the victim's body, which has not yet been found.
Police began investigating when they got a call from a concerned neighbor who said two of the couple's children weren't picked up from their school bus stop. Investigators said when they searched the couple's multi-million-dollar home in Newport Beach, they found blood and signs of a struggle.
"There's a lot of forensic evidence that we've recovered. There's also a series of witnesses that have been interviewed, and we're very confident that when the facts come out in court, it's going to be very clear," Murphy said.
The business executive was arrested in San Diego Thursday after he called police for some reason about four miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. Police say he was driving his 2003 Lexus SUV. Authorities hope witnesses come forward with information that can lead them to his wife's body.
"Mr. Chadwick was in his car for about 18 hours with the body, so it could be anywhere in Southern California right now," Murphy said.
Friends and family came to court to show their support for the Chadwicks. One friend who did not want to give a name said they were a nice family who didn't appear to have any problems.
The two youngest children go to a private school in Huntington Beach called the Pegasus School. The head said in a statement, "We're saddened by the events that occurred. We have grief counselors on campus. Our condolences go out to the Chadwick kids and family. Our attention is really focused internally."
Authorities say the couple's three children are being cared for by another family member.
If convicted, Peter Chadwick faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. He is being held without bail until a hearing on Oct. 26.
Anyone with any information regarding the ongoing investigation was urged to call Newport Beach Police Department at (800) 550-6273.