The ex-girlfriend of a Tennessee man accused of killing his wife on their Fiji honeymoon says he was volatile and abusive toward her during their time together.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, nurse Christe Chen was excited about her honeymoon to Fiji, according to her friends and family. Now, her husband, Bradley Robert Dawson, is sitting in a jail cell in the South Pacific, accused of killing her.
Investigators said that Dawson murdered Chen while staying at a resort on the Yasawa Islands; investigators believe she died on July 9.
During an interview with “Good Morning America,” Dawson’s former girlfriend, Kristen Baker, spoke candidly about their turbulent relationship.
“We fell madly in love, and it was definitely intense and fast,” Baker said, adding that the relationship ultimately turned violent when he pushed her.
“When I really did want to leave him. He did push me down once on the bed and chased me. He was very verbally, verbally manipulative and threatening and jealous.”
A year after the incident, Baker said they broke up for good. ABC 24 reports that Dawson married someone in 2019, but when that ended in divorce, he married Chen around a month after the divorce was finalized.
The couple took a short-lived honeymoon vacation to Fiji in July, where Chen was found beaten to death with blunt force head trauma and body injuries. She was found bloodied and dead in the bungalow bathroom by a housekeeper after the couple failed to show up for lunch and breakfast at the resort, sources told DailyMail.
Dawson, who was “nowhere to be found” after police found Chen’s body, was eventually detained and questioned. When asked to submit his DNA for forensics testing, Dawson reportedly would not cooperate.
Sources indicated that Dawson attempted to flee on a kayak before police caught up with him.
DailyMail reports that Dawson’s lawyer, Iqbal Khan, said 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.”
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.
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[Featured image: Bradley & Christe/Instagram