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Newly wed husband escaped by kayak after beating pharmacist bride to death

Bradley Robert Dawson escaped by kayak to a nearby island after beating Christe Chen newly wed Memphis pharmacist wife to death. TN man says he is innocent and left the couple’s luxury resort bungalow after a disagreement. 

A new report has told of a newlywed Memphis man fleeing by kayak to a nearby island after reportedly beating his newlywed pharmacist bride to death while the couple where honeymooning at a luxury Fiji resort.

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 viewed by the dailymail

Chen and her husband, Bradley Robert Dawson, 38 – who she married in February – had only checked into the resort two days earlier. Dawson, has since been arrested for her murder and is being held in prison in nearby Lautoka.

Dawson, an IT professional for a non profit in Tennessee has denied the charges against him, all the while maintaining his innocence, the man’s attorney told via FOX 13 Memphis. 

Newly wed bride discovered beaten to death at luxury bungalow

Of note, Dawson refused to submit his DNA for forensic testing when the police prosecutor requested.

Matters came to the fore when neither Chen or Dawson turned up to eat breakfast – with their personal butler then going to the couples’ bungalow only to find a ‘do not disturb sign’ on their door. The couple then failed to turn up to lunch, and at that point their butler – who personally cleans their bungalow – used a spare key to unlock the door.

The butler discovered Chen lying bloodied on the bathroom floor around midday. Chen had been beaten to death. 

He then alerted hotel management who called the Fiji Police Force in the nearby city of Lautoka, just under an hour from Nadi International Airport. 

At the same time officers recovered Chen’s body, they also sent a team to search for Dawson who was nowhere to be found. 

The newly wed groom was found on Matacawalevu Island, about 1.2 miles across the water from Turtle Island, by a local man around 3pm the next day, on Sunday, July 10.

Dawson has since claimed kayaking to the island between 2am and 3am on Saturday morning after having a fight with Chen. 

Bradley Robert DawsonTN man charged with murdering Christe Chen Memphis pharmacist bride
Bradley Robert DawsonTN man charged with murdering Christe Chen Memphis pharmacist bride. Images via social media.

$2,400 to $3,500 -a-night for a taste of ‘paradise’ 

Dawson was discovered with bruising and blood from his palms and feet, injuries that may have been caused from falling onto nearby coral. Of note, the man was also discovered reeking of alcohol according to an incident report seen by the dailymail. 

A team of three police officers soon arrived on Matacawalevu Island to take Dawson back to Turtle Island and then to Lautoka on Fiji’s main island Viti Levu, where he was charged with murder. 

The tropical island the resort is located on hosts at least one honeymoon pair per week, 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.

The resort costs $2,400 to $3,500 -a-night according to the resort’s website. 

Leading into their marriage, Chen and Dawson shared a new $250,000 home on Elzey Avenue in the Cooper-Young area of Memphis

‘She wanted to have babies and spend the rest of her life with her new husband

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.

‘It is our understanding Ms. Chen was his wife, and our condolences go out to her family,’ Youth Villages said in a statement to FOX13. 

A friend of Chen’s, Rena Schomburg, described her friend as ‘super-sweet, kind, would do anything for anybody, outgoing, generous, and so fun’.

Chen had talked about having babies and spending the rest of her life with Dawson.

Schomburg said she never met Dawson, but suggested that Chen might have met him through marathon running. 

‘She didn’t have a bad bone in her body,’ Schomburg said.

Another friend, Matt Koenig, told he was shocked about her murder. 

‘Christe was caring, funny, generous, the kind of person who can make friends with anyone,’ he said. ‘It’s a hard day.’

Before traveling to Fiji, Chen eerily told a neighbor how excited she was to be spending her honeymoon in paradise.