A newlywed Memphis pharmacist was found beaten to death
in the bathroom of her luxury honeymoon bungalow in Fiji
- and her husband, now charged with her murder, used a kayak to flee to a small island 1.2 miles
away, DailyMail.com can exclusively reveal. Christe Jion Chen, 36, 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
DailyMail.com. Chen and her husband,
Bradley Robert Dawson, 38 – who she married in February – had only checked into the resort two days earlier.
He has since been arrested for her murder and is being held in prison in nearby Lautoka.
His lawyer, Iqbal Khan, told DailyMail.com that his client denies
the charges.DailyMail.com has learned that the alarm was raised on July 9 when neither Chen or Dawson turned up to eat breakfast
- their personal butler then went to the couples’ bungalow and
found a ‘do not disturb sign’ on their door.
They 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 –
known as a ‘House Papa’ – discovered Chen lying bloodied on the bathroom floor around midday.
Christe Jion Chen, 36, was found dead on July 9 at the
secluded $3,400-a-night Turtle Island Resort in the Yasaw group of islands – the jewel in the South
Pacific nation’s billion-dollar travel industry – while on her honeymoon with husband Bradley Dawson, 38.
Pictured: Chen and Dawson pictured on an earlier vacation Chen and Dawson married in February but
delayed their honeymoon to the tropical paradise until July.
She was found dead at the luxury Turtle Island Resort on July 9 – two days into her honeymoon. Dawson has since
been arrested for her murder Sources have told DailyMail.com that the 50-year-old 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. 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, a source told DailyMail.com.He 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.Manoa Ratulele,
49, told DailyMail.com that 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. He told DailyMail.com
that Dawson was bruised and bleeding from his palms and feet, injuries that may have been caused from
falling onto nearby coral.
Dawson 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. The couple’s personal butler – known as a ‘House
Papa’ – discovered 37-year-old Chen lying bloodied on the bathroom
floor of their luxury bungalow around midday in July
9 Bradley Dawson, 38, is seen here being held in a cell in Lautoka on the Fijian mainland awaiting a bail hearing next week
Dawson used a kayak to paddle 1.2 miles
from Turtle Island Resort to Matacawalevu Island in the
dead of the night on Saturday, July 9.
He was found by a local 36 hours laterRatulele 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
told DailyMail.com.Ratulele said Dawson kept insisting on calling police and told villagers
who had started to gather that he was very drunk. RELATED ARTICLES
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‘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’.'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. Representatives for Turtle Island Resort
confirmed the incident in a statement to
DailyMail.com, saying: ‘We can confirm that an incident took place between a couple at the Island on July 9th, which has
resulted in a tragic outcome and charges being laid. ’We cooperated fully with
the police who conducted a thorough investigation and have now left the Island.’Out of respect for those impacted and given it is an open legal matter, we cannot provide any further comment
at this time.
We are deeply saddened by the event and send our sincerest condolences to Ms.
Chen’s family and friends.’ 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 a staggering $2,400 to
$3,500 -a-night, a booking agent with the resort told DailyMail.com. Turtle Island Resort
is on a small island of the same name off the coast of Fiji’s
The resort is known for being one of the most luxuriest
in the island paradise Turtle Bay Resort
is where the 1980 film The Blue Lagoon, starring a young
Brooke Shields, was filmed Turtle Island Resort in the Yasaw group of islands –
the jewel in the South Pacific nation’s billion-dollar travel industry The $3,400-a-night island has 14 private bungalows and guests are ferried from
the mainland by small plane.
Each bungalow has their own private butler After Dawson’s
arrest, prosecutors said he refused to submit his DNA
for forensic testing. Magistrate Sekonaia Vodokisolomone told the court Dawson had committed an ‘indictable offence’ and the case would
be transferred to the High Court in Lautoka, Fiji Sun reported. The magistrate said Dawson’s bail application would have to be made in the High Court.Chen and Dawson shared a new $250,000 home
on Elzey Avenue in the Cooper-Young area of Memphis. 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
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,
told DailyMail.com that Chen was an only child and used to travel with her mom on extravagant trips and post them pictures of them to social media.She described her friend as ‘super-sweet, kind, would do
anything for anybody, outgoing, generous, and so fun’.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 DailyMail.com 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.
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