Entertainment: Honeymoon Murder Mystery: Why Was Bride Found Dead in 5-Star Suite She Shared with Husband?

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Bradley Dawson, Christe Chen © Provided by People Bradley Dawson, Christe Chen

When Christe Chen married Bradley Dawson three months after they met, friends of the recent pharmacy school graduate were concerned — but also hopeful she'd finally found the love of her life.

"It was a shock," says Chen's friend Morrice Aperey of her decision to marry the recently-divorced Dawson, 38, a Memphis-based IT specialist. "It happened so quickly."

Now her friends are struggling to make sense of the nightmare that unfolded just two days into the couple's honeymoon in July at one of the planet's most beautiful locations — Fiji's ultra-private Turtle Island, where villas start at $3,500 a night.

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On the evening of July 8, the couple got into an argument during a beach party, according to multiple reports. The altercation continued after they returned to their villa, and resort staff later heard "loud noises" coming from their suite, according to Chen family attorney Ronald Gordon.

Bradley Dawson, Christe Chen © Provided by People Bradley Dawson, Christe Chen

"It appears that he [Bradley] may have visited the island before with his previous wife on their honeymoon," he says. "Christe didn't know that until that evening, which may have been the cause for the argument."

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The next afternoon around 3 p.m., a maid, concerned that the guests had missed breakfast and lunch, discovered 36-year-old Chen's battered body in a pool of blood, slumped against a cracked toilet, dead from a traumatic brain injury.

Christe Dawson/Instagram Bradley Dawson and Christe Chen © Provided by People Christe Dawson/Instagram Bradley Dawson and Christe Chen

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By then, Dawson had fled the resort — the location of the 1980 film The Blue Lagoon, starring Brooke Shields — in a kayak. He was arrested 36 hours later on July 10 on a nearby island — with his passport, over $1,000 in cash and a credit card belonging to Chen.

Dawson pleaded not guilty to Chen's murder at a Sept. 1 court hearing in Lautoka, Fiji. His attorney, Iqbal Khan, disputed the prosecution's allegation that Dawson had confessed to the killing in an interview he gave to police after his arrest.

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FBC News Bradley Dawson © Provided by People FBC News Bradley Dawson

Dawson later refused to sign the confession after receiving legal advice, but the authorities insisted that during the interview he had detailed the events surrounding that tragic night — including what he reportedly described as a violent, drunken "scuffle" that left Chen injured but alive shortly before he left the island by kayak.

"All of this has been really tough to swallow," says Chen's friend Ryan Weis. "Christe always wanted to be married, but I just wish I would have asked more questions about who this guy was."

* With additional reporting by Christine Pelisek and Wendy Grossman Kantor

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