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Christe Chen Dawson, the Tennessee newlywed allegedly beaten to death on her honeymoon at an exclusive resort in Fiji, has been cremated and returned to the United States, according to an attorney hired by her family.
“The deceased was unable to be taken back to her home because of the nature of her injuries,” the lawyer, Ronald Gordon, told Daily Mail. “So she had to be cremated here in Fiji and her ashes were taken back.”
Gordon did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
He told the outlet that Chen had suffered “major blows” to her body and that when police first informed her parents of the death, “they thought it was a prank call.”
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Fiji police found Chen beaten to death in the bathroom of their hotel room at Turtle Island Resort on Nanuya Levu on July 9, according to authorities. She was a pharmacist who graduated from the University of Tennessee, which honored her last year with an award for excellence in clinical communication.
They arrested her husband, Bradley Robert Dawson, two days later on Nadi, the country’s main island, on murder charges. He allegedly told a local man that he’d kayaked away from Turtle Island after an argument with his wife.
Turtle Island Resort told Fox News Digital that the couple was staying on the property when the incident happened and that it is cooperating with authorities.
The two reportedly married in February after just three months of dating.
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Gordon told the Daily Mail that Chen was Dawson’s second wife and that he had taken his first bride to Fiji as well in 2020.
Iqbal Khan, the Fiji-based attorney for Dawson, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. A woman who answered the phone at his office Tuesday evening said he was in court with Dawson at the time.
Photos show Dawson arrived in court wearing a coronavirus facemask, handcuffs and a short-sleeved button-down shirt – and carrying blue luggage.
His next hearing was later scheduled for August 18.
The U.S. State Department confirmed “the death of a U.S. citizen in Fiji,” but declined to comment further.
Khan told FOX 13 Memphis last week that his client maintains his innocence.
Dawson was an IT professional for a nonprofit called Youth Villages until he was suspended as a result of the charges, according to the station.
Turtle Island bills itself as a luxury five-star resort with rates starting at more than $2,000 a night, according to Travel and Leisure.
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It was founded by an American cable TV magnate, Richard Evanson, who purchased the 500-acre, uninhabited island of Nanuya Levu in the 1970s and developed the resort in 1980.
Celebrities including Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson have visited, and the remake of “Blue Lagoon” starring Brooke Shields was filmed on the island.
Fox News’ Adam Sabes contributed to this report.