Fiji: American man accused of murdering his wife while on their honeymoon

An American was recently arrested and charged with the murder of his wife while they were honeymooning at a luxury resort in Fiji, ABC News has learned.

Fiji Police confirmed that on the afternoon of July 9, a woman identified as 36-year-old US citizen Christe Chen was found motionless on the floor of her room by staff at Turtle Island, a 500-acre private island resort Fiji’s Yasawa Archipelago. Resort management alerted authorities, who responded and pronounced Chen dead at the scene. She was beaten to death, police told ABC News.

Chen’s husband, identified as 38-year-old US citizen Bradley Robert Dawson, was located and arrested two days later in Nadi, a town on the west coast of Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu, according to police.

Dawson appeared in Lautoka Magistrates’ Court on July 13 and was charged with murder. Due to the seriousness of the incident, Dawson’s case has been referred to the Lautoka High Court, where it is scheduled to appear on July 27. He remains in custody at the Fiji Corrections Service facility in Lautoka, Fiji’s second largest city, about 16 miles away, north of Nadi.

Dawson’s attorney, Iqbal Khan, told ABC News he intends to file for bail on July 25 on behalf of his client, but believes it will be difficult to obtain bail since Dawson is a foreigner with no local Family or connections that could help him Insurance.

Fiji Police Prosecutor Arvind Kumar told ABC News that authorities are still preparing the disclosure of all the details and findings related to the case, which will be sent to the Lautoka High Court ahead of Dawson’s scheduled appearance there next week.

Turtle Island, which hosts a maximum of 14 couples at a time in private villas, confirmed that “on July 9, an incident between a married couple took place at the resort that resulted in a tragic outcome and charges were filed.”

“We have cooperated with authorities throughout the investigation and police left the island over a week ago,” the resort said in a statement to ABC News. “We understand that charges have been filed in the case. Our top priority is the safety and concern for our guests and our team, which we both value as a family, and we are extremely saddened by the event. We continue to extend our condolences to Ms. Chen’s family, friends and colleagues. Given the need to respect the privacy of our guests and the ongoing legal investigation, please direct any further inquiries to the authorities.”

Meanwhile, a US State Department spokesman confirmed “the death of a US citizen in Fiji.”

“Out of respect for the family’s privacy, we have no further comment at this time,” the rep told ABC News in a statement.

ABC News contributor Brad Garrett, a former FBI special agent, explained that when Americans travel abroad and allegedly have committed a crime in a foreign country, “the local authorities will follow their procedure.”

“Mr. Dawson will be in Fiji for a long time before this case is resolved one way or the other,” Garrett said.

ABC News’ Shannon Crawford, Matthew Stone and Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.

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