A Tennessee pharmacist was found dead in a luxury Fijian resort, leading to her newlywed husband’s arrest in connection to the alleged murder, officials said Wednesday.
Bradley Dawson, 39, allegedly murdered Christe Chen, 38, at a Yasawa Island resort on July 9, Fiji’s Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions said in a statement.
It wasn’t immediately clear how she died.
The Memphis couple were staying at the Turtle Island Resort, a private getaway in the Yasawa Islands that hosts 14 couples at a time.
“We cooperated fully with the police who conducted a thorough investigation and have now left the Island,” the resort said in a statement, adding that it could not provide additional information about Chen’s death.
“We are deeply saddened by the event and send our sincerest condolences to Ms. Chen’s family and friends,” the resort said.
Dawson was charged with one count of murder and made a first appearance in court on July 13. His next appearance is scheduled for July 27 at the Lautoka High Court, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
Dawson’s lawyer in Fiji did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but he told a Tennessee TV station, Fox 13 Memphis, that his client maintained his innocence.
Dawson worked as an IT specialist for Youth Villages, a “private, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children with emotional and behavioral problems and their families live successfully,” according to the Memphis, Tennessee-based organization.
“He has been suspended pending further information. Ms. Chen was his wife and our condolences go out to her family,” Youth Villages assistant direct for communications Connie Mills said in a statement.
Chen had been a pastry chef before going back to school to become a pharmacist. She’s worked in that capacity at a Kroger supermarket in Memphis for the past 3 1/2 years, her LinkedIn profile showed.
Katherine Benson, the owner and master event planner at Bella Baxter Special Events, confirmed that her company worked on Chen and Dawson’s wedding in February.
“Out of respect for the family’s privacy during this time and due to client confidentiality, we are not at liberty to share photos or film or speak to the specifics of their wedding day or planning period,” Benson said.
“What we can say is that Christe Chen was a wonderful person and her light will be missed in the world. We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and our hearts and thoughts are with the families during this time.”
Suzanne Ciechalski contributed.