'Manipulative' Husband Accused of Murdering Wife on Fiji Honeymoon Is 'Someone Else' While Drunk, Ex Says

Newlywed husband Bradley Dawson is accused of killing his wife Christe Chen on their Fiji honeymoon

Christe Chen and Bradley Dawson's romance seemed to be a whirlwind. Fresh out of pharmacy school, Chen, a former baker, met Dawson, an IT specialist for a Memphis-based nonprofit, in November 2021.

Three months later they were married.

The newlywed couple chose to celebrate their honeymoon in July at Fiji's Turtle Island, a posh resort in the South Pacific where villas reportedly start at $3,500 a night.

Dawson "always had an obsession with Fiji," his ex-girlfriend Kristen Baker says in this week's issue of PEOPLE. "Fiji. Fiji. Fiji. He wanted to go to Fiji."

But the honeymoon soon turned tragic.

Honeymoon Murder Mystery cover rollout
Bradley Dawson. Fox News Digital

According to multiple reports, the couple got into an argument during a beach party on the evening of July 8. Dawson, now 38, allegedly admitted later to having a drunken argument with Chen, 36, that night at their cabin.

The following day, a butler discovered Chen's body slumped next to a cracked toilet. She had suffered severe traumatic head injuries.

Dawson fled the resort — which was the location of the 1980 film The Blue Lagoon, starring Brooke Shields — by kayak and was discovered the following day, several miles away on nearby Matacawalevu Island.

Honeymoon Murder Mystery cover rollout

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He was carrying his passport, more than $1,000 in cash, credit cards and a Visa card belonging to Chen. He also had in his possession his driver's license along with Chen's license.

Police arrested him on July 10.

Honeymoon Murder Mystery cover rollout
Bradley Dawson, Christe Chen.

Baker, who says she dated Dawson for a year while the two attended the University of Tennessee, says her ex could be charming "but when he drinks he becomes someone else."

"He would black out and do stuff that he didn't know he did the next day," she says.

Baker also says Dawson was "very manipulative and always wanted to have a lot of money, to travel and live extravagantly."

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Charged with murder, Dawson now sits in a Fiji jail cell awaiting trial — which might be delayed for up to three years while his lawyer attempts to get the statements he allegedly made to police removed from the official record.

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In September, Dawson's petition to be released on bail and allowed to stay in Fiji pending trial was rejected by a judge.

Whatever happens next, friends of Chen are heartbroken — and angry.

"Christe was the sun — she brought so much joy. It enrages me this happened," says her friend Presley Powers. "She always wanted kids, and she would have been a sensational mother. I just pray for justice for her, for her family this is unforgivable."

A hearing for Dawson is scheduled for Nov. 25.

* With additional reporting by Wendy Grossman Kantor

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