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EXCLUSIVE DETAILS: The murdered Tennessee pharmacist in Fiji for her honeymoon had “horrific injuries” that could not have resulted from an accident, as claimed by her husband and alleged killer through his lawyer, according to his family’s attorney.
Fijian police found Christe Chen, a 39-year-old from Memphis, beaten to death in the bathroom of a luxurious bedroom at the Turtle Island Resort in Nanuya Levu on July 9, according to authorities. They arrested her husband, Bradley Robert Dawson, 38, two days later in Nadi, the country’s main island, on suspicion of murder.
The medical examiner found “multiple blunt injuries around his head and face,” Ronald Gordon, his family’s attorney, told Fox News Digital. When his parents visited him in the morgue, he added, his mother “was inconsolable at cause injury”.
“It doesn’t look like it was an accidental push, and she fell and hit her head and something happened,” he said. “We are of the opinion that she was assaulted on several occasions, but it remains something that will come out in the criminal proceedings.”
The lacerations around his eyes were so deep, he said, that the hospital advised his family against embalming Chen in order to transfer his remains to the United States. The wounds were so severe that the mortuary attendant feared the embalming fluid was leaking.
“They were obliged, unfortunately, to have her cremated. here in Lautoka,” he said.
But the island does not have a crematorium, Gordon said. They cremated his body on an open wooden funeral pyre.
Chen and Dawson married in february after only a few months of dating and were visiting the exclusive five-star resort, which costs more than $2,000 a night for its cheapest room, for their honeymoon.
Days into the trip, Dawson, a computer scientist at a children’s nonprofit, took off under suspicious circumstances, police said. He reportedly told a local man that he had a fight with his wife and kayaked away from the resort.
“He left his very fancy GPS watch outside the room and left his room with just his wallet and passport, and so that shows his intention was to flee the country,” Gordon said. “We certainly believe he poses a flight risk and will oppose the bail application.”
In addition, Chen’s remains have not been discovered for a full day, Gordon said.
“So the father doesn’t know if she was alive when he left her, if she could have been saved if someone had found her,” he said. “He was very worried that Christe would have suffered.”
Chen’s parents considered visiting Dawson in the Fiji jail, but their lawyer said he advised them against it and they eventually agreed.
“She’s the only child. She had just finished her pharmacy studies, eager to start a new life as a pharmacist,” he said. “The family is very, very distraught. They lost an only child. And they keep asking us and themselves why? Why did he do this?”
Gordon said wrongful death suits could be brought in both Fiji and in the United States, but the family is immediately focused on the ongoing criminal trial in the Lautoka High Court. Prosecutors had three weeks to file the Fijian version of an indictment, called “the information”, he said.
Dawson’s next court date has been set for August 18, but he is expected to appear earlier because he is seeking bail, which prosecutor Alvin Singh and Chen’s family have said they will oppose.
Dawson’s attorney, Iqbal Khan, did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.