A Tennessee man accused of killing his new wife during a Fiji vacation has reportedly claimed that her death was an accident.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Christi Chen was reportedly excited about her honeymoon to Fiji. Now, her husband, Bradley Robert Dawson, is sitting in a jail cell in the South Pacific, accused of killing his wife.
Investigators said that Dawson murdered Chen while staying at a resort on the Yasawa Islands. Investigators believe Christe died on July 9. Her body was located inside the couple’s bungalow.
According to a post-mortem exam obtained by DailyMail, Christi Chen Dawson was found beaten to death with blunt force trauma to the head and body injuries.
Dawson, who was “nowhere to be found” after police found his wife’s body, was eventually detained and questioned. When asked to submit his DNA for forensics testing, Dawson would not cooperate.
DailyMail reports that sources indicated that Dawson attempted to flee on a kayak before police caught up with him. Dawson’s lawyer, Iqbal Khan, reportedly told the outlet that he thinks Dawson’s murder charge will get tossed out.
“There is no way he can be convicted of murder. No way. Full stop,” Khan reportedly said. “On the evidence that they have presented so far, there’s no proof of the charge of murder with intention to kill or premeditation. Nothing of that sort whatsoever.”
“On the face of it, it looks like an accident but I will be able to confirm that once I get the full disclosure next week and get in front of other witnesses.”
Chen was found by a housekeeper after the couple failed to show up for lunch and breakfast at the resort. The housekeeper later found her bloodied and dead in the bungalow bathroom, sources told DailyMail.
Dawson reportedly told a local while fleeing on the kayak that he and Chen got into a “heated argument.”
The defendant’s case is expected to be sent to the High Court in Lautoka, where he can request bail. Police Prosecutor, Inspector Arvind Kuma, is pushing for a DNA sample request through a court order, which would require Dawson to submit his DNA to investigators.
Friends, who’ve described Chen as “super-sweet” and “kind,” are shocked after hearing of her death.
“I am in shock. I just texted all my friends and my husband telling them I hope it’s not real but my husband told me it is real,” Chen’s friend, Rena Schomburg, told DailyMail. “She was so excited to get married and to have babies.”
Chen was a pharmacist at a Kroger store in Memphis, while Dawson worked for Youth Villages as an IT professional.
“Bradley Dawson was an IT professional at Youth Villages. He 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.
The pair lived together in the Cooper-Young area of Memphis.
Check back for updates.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Listen to the latest episode below.
[Featured image: Bradley & Christe/Instagram