Newlywed husband escaped on a kayak to island 1.2miles away from luxury honeymoon bungalow in Fiji where he ‘beat his pharmacist wife to death in bathroom’
Bradley Robert Dawson, 38, of Memphis TN, has been charged with he beating death of his newly wed spouse and held without bail on Fiji’s main island Viti Levu
Christe Jion Chen, 39, was found beaten to death on July 9, in the bathroom of a bungalow at the secluded $3,500-a-night Turtle Island Resort in the Yasawa group of islands
She had suffered multiple traumatic injuries to her body, and blunt force trauma to the head, according to a post-mortem exam report
Chen a pharmacist and her husband, IT professional Dawson, who wed in February, had only checked into the resort two days earlier
On the day When responding cops found Chen, Dawson had vanished, a local man discovered 36 hours later on a nearby island 1.2 miles away
Dawson is remanded after the magistrate refused to hear his bail application pending his appearance in a high court on July 27
A suspect has been charged in the death of a newlywed Memphis pharmacist who was found beaten to death in the bathroom of her luxury honeymoon bungalow in Fiji earlier in the month.
Christe Jion Chen, 39, was found dead on July 9 at the secluded $3,500-a-night Turtle Island Resort in the Yasawa group of islands – the jewel in the South Pacific nation’s billion-dollar travel industry.
She had suffered multiple traumatic injuries to her body, and blunt force trauma to the head, according to a post-mortem exam report.
After the killing, her husband Bradley Robert Dawson and travel companion allegedly, fled the luxury resort on a kayak to a small island 1.2 miles away.
Dawson, 38, has since been arrested for Chen’s murder and is being held in prison in nearby Lautoka.
The suspect speaking through his attorney, Iqbal Khan, has maintained that he is innocent of the charges.
The Memphis couple who wed in February, were spending their honeymoon at the tropical island the luxury island resort in Fiji known for hosting well heeled guests and hosts at least one honeymoon pair per week. It is quite exclusive and only 14 couples can stay at the island at a time. When guests arrive at Fiji they board a small seaplane for a short flight to the private Turtle Beach.
The 200-hectare island, dotted with 14 villas separated by lush vegetation and oceanfront views, is a peaceful and private oasis and its 12 private beaches are among the top attractions.
Chen and Dawson had only checked into the resort which costs $2,400 to $3,500 per night, two days earlier.
The alarm was raised on July 9 when neither Chen or Dawson turned up to eat breakfast, prompting their personal butler to go in search of the couples’ bungalow at the resort, only to find a ‘do not disturb sign’ on their door.
When they again failed to turn up for lunch, their butler used a spare key to access their bungalow, only to discover Christie Chen lying bloodied on the bathroom floor.
The 50-year-old butler had started cleaning other rooms in the bungalow before he saw blood stains on the bathroom wall. When he went to investigate, he found Chen beaten to death. The resort management who called in Fiji Police in the nearby city of Lautoka.
Responding officers recovered Chen’s body and went in search of her husband who was nowhere to be found. Dawson was found on Matacawalevu Island, about 1.2 miles across the water from Turtle Island, by a local man around 3pm the next day, July 10.
Manoa Ratulele said Dawson told him that he used a kayak to paddle to the island between 2am and 3am on Saturday morning after having a fight with Chen.
‘But he landed on a secluded beach and I don’t know what he was doing after that,’ Ratulele said.
According to Ratulele, Dawson was bruised and bleeding from his palms and feet, injuries that may have been caused from falling onto nearby coral.
Dawson the local said, also ‘appeared disturbed’ so Ratulele offered him water and help.
‘At first he kept refusing food and water and insisted he was ok, but I insisted he had some water and after that he said – Please, I need to call the police,’ Ratulele said.
Ratulele said he was alarmed because the entire Yasawa group of islands are littered with resorts and tourists are often seen on the beaches which cradle the azure blue waters the area is known for – but guests of Turtle Island Resort are rarely seen wandering off the island.
‘I was a bit alarmed because these are very wealthy people, we don’t find them on our beaches. We get backpacking snorkelers and surfers but not people from Turtle Island, they are a rarity around here.
‘These are millionaires and they are never far away from minders from the resort,’ he said.
Ratulele said stranger kept insisting on calling police and told villagers who had started to gather that he was very drunk: ‘We treated him like family, there was nothing alarming about him but when he kept asking for the police, we were a little afraid,’ Ratulele said.
‘He didn’t tell us he had killed his wife but I could still smell alcohol on him. He continued to repeat that ‘we had a fight’ and offered no start or end to that story, just kept saying ‘we had a fight’.’
Dawson transported from Matacawalevu Island to Lautoka on Fiji’s main island Viti Levu, and charged with murder. While in custody Dawson prosecutors said, refused to submit his DNA for forensic testing.
Fiji Sun reports that the magistrate, Sekonaia Vodokisolomone, noted in court that Dawson had committed an ‘indictable offence’ and the case would be transferred to the High Court in Lautoka, as such the bail application would have to be made in the High Court.
Chen and Dawson shared a new $250,000 home in Memphis, Tennessee, where Chen worked as a pharmacist at Kroger while Dawson worked as an IT professional for Youth Villages, a non-profit which helps children.
The nonprofit said Dawson has been suspended pending further information.
Friends described Chen as a ‘super-sweet, kind, would do anything for anybody, outgoing, generous, and so fun,’ who ‘didn’t have a bad bone in her body.’
They believe the outgoing Chen likely through marathon running.
Before traveling to Fiji Chen reportedly, told a neighbor how excited she was to be spending her honeymoon in paradise.