A newlywed bride found beaten to death on her honeymoon in Fiji was reportedly so badly injured that her body had to be cremated.
Christe Chen, 36, was on holiday with her 38-year-old husband Bradley Dawson, who she’d married in February, when her body was found inside the bathroom of a luxury bungalow.
Dawson, from Memphis, US, has since been charged with murder and appeared at the Magistrates’ Court in Fiji’s second largest island Lautoka last week.
He maintains the death was an accident and was further remanded in custody for 14 days.
A post-mortem examination found that Chen had sustained blunt force trauma to the head and multiple traumatic injuries to her body.
Ronald Gordon, a lawyer representing Chen’s estate and her parents, said she had to be cremated in Fiji due to the nature of her injuries and her ashes taken back home.
He told DailyMail.com : “The family will follow the proceedings to ensure justice is served for Christe given the horrific injuries she endured.
“The deceased was unable to be taken back to her home because of the nature of her injuries … so she had to be cremated here in Fiji and her ashes were taken back.”
Mr Gordon said Chen’s parents were informed of their only child’s death through a phone call at around midnight from the State Department, a couple of days after she was killed.
They initially believed it was a prank call, he added, and were told by police that Dawson had left his phone and GPS watch at the Turtle Island Resort.
Mr Gordon also claimed Dawson had married once before, and that he had travelled to Fiji with his first wife two years previously.
He had married Chen in February in an intimate ceremony of just 20 people, and one unnamed friend said they thought it “was some kind of a whirlwind romance,” The Daily Beast reported.
Chen worked as a pharmacist at Kroger and the alleged murderer worked as an IT professional for Youth Villages, a non-profit organisation which helps children.
“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,” said Youth Villages in a statement.
The case has been transferred to a High Court in Lautoka on the island, following Mr Dawson being charged with one count of murder.
Police Inspector Arvind Kumar had pleaded to the judge to order a DNA test because when they arrested Mr Dawson, he was reportedly uncooperative and refused to carry out forensic tests.
Magistrate Vodokisolomone said the accused committed an “indictable offence” and therefore needed to be transferred.
Dawson’s attorney previously told Fox13 News that he could not confirm the manner in which the wife died, but said his client maintains his innocence.