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A Tennessee man accused of killing his wife while on their honeymoon in Fiji allegedly tried to flee to a nearby island after her slaying.
Tennessee newlyweds Bradley Robert Dawson, 38, and Christe Chen, 36, had gone to Fiji for their honeymoon in July 7 but, just two days later, Chen was found murdered inside their hotel room at Turtle Island Resort, located in the Yasawa Islands of Fiji.
After the murder, police say that Dawson kayaked to a small remote island, where he was found by police about 36 hours later, the Associated Press reports. Police believe he may have been trying to flee to Fiji's main island, but ended up there instead — where the Indigenous residents alerted others, leading to his capture,
Dawson's lawyer Iqbal Khan told the outlet that Dawson left the resort because “he panicked, he was shocked.” He hinted that Chen’s death could have been an accident.
Meanwhile, Ronald Gordon — who is representing Chen's family — said that the pharmacist’s body had to be cremated in Fiji because it was so badly damaged. Chen's parents had been hoping to take her body back to the U.S. intact.
Dawson, who made his first appearance Wednesday at Fiji's Lautoka High Court, has been charged with murder. He has not yet entered a plea; he remains jailed and faces a possible life sentence. The case was adjourned until next month, the Associated Press reports.
Gordon told the outlet that witnesses heard the couple heard arguing over dinner on July 8. A friend of Chen’s told The Daily Beast that their intimate wedding ceremony in February marked the first time that many of Chen's friends even met Dawson — who reportedly had honeymooned at the same resort with a previous wife, Gordon told the NY Post.
The resort only accommodates up to 14 couples at any given time.
Chen, a University of Tennessee graduate, worked as a pharmacist at a Kroger in the Memphis area, where the newlyweds lived, Fox 13 Memphis reports. She was an award-winning pharmaceutical scientist. She was also a Community Pharmacy Resident at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. She recently received a grant that would help her improve "patient care by building deeper relationships."
Dawson worked as an information technology professional at Youth Villages, a non-profit that works with children. He has been suspended as a result of the allegations.
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