Local News

Former Duke doctor charged with killing partner, child in Seattle

Posted August 16, 2011

— Police on Tuesday charged a former Duke University doctor in the stabbing deaths of his longtime partner and their son last week in a high-rise Seattle apartment.

Louis Chao Chen, 39, was charged with two counts of aggravated first-degree murder and was ordered held without bond.

Chen completed a three-year residency at Duke University in the spring and had moved to Seattle about a month ago with partner Eric Cooper, 29, and 2-year-old Cooper Chen, according to court documents.

A co-worker went to Chen's apartment last Thursday morning when he failed to show up for his first day of work at Virginia Mason Hospital, police said. The woman called 911 when Chen answered the door nude and covered in blood.

Officers found Cooper dead in the living room, and an autopsy determined that he had been stabbed more than 100 times, according to court documents.

The toddler was found dead in the bathtub of the master bedroom, court documents state. He also had been stabbed.

A butcher knife and a knife blade broken off from the handle were found in the living room of the apartment, and three kitchen knives with reddish-brown stains on them were found on the bed of the master bedroom, police said.

Chen, who also had been stabbed, was semiconscious when police arrived. An officer administering first aid to Chen asked, "Who stabbed you and your partner?" Chen replied, "I did," court records state.

Police said the Cooper and the child might have been dead as long as three days before the bodies were found. No one reported seeing them since Aug. 8, and the access cards assigned to Chen and Cooper to get into the apartment building hadn't been used since that day, court documents state.

The Seattle Times reported that the boy was Chen's biological son. He used an egg donor and a surrogate to give birth, and Cooper adopted the boy after he was born.

Chen was named a fellow of the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition at Duke's medical school last year and, according to publications, had recently obtained a grant to study diabetes patients with gastric problems.

Duke officials have declined to comment.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • freedomrings Aug 17, 2011

    Very, very sad story. No words at all to express it.

  • mike275132 Aug 17, 2011

    From another news source:
    Cooper Chen was conceived with Chen's sperm and the egg of an anonymous donor, then was carried to term by a surrogate mother. When the child was born nearly three years ago, he was adopted by Eric Cooper.
    The two men met about 12 years ago when Chen was attending the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and Cooper was a 17-year-old high-school senior in Tinley Park, Ill.

    Some more of the many great changes in society.

  • Ladyh8887 Aug 17, 2011

    agreed kittenclaws

  • KittenClaws Aug 17, 2011

    Can you imagine the horror of the woman who gave birth to this child! Knowing you carried a child for someone who then kills that child...no words.

  • Ladyh8887 Aug 17, 2011

    What has this world come to? I can't see any reason to justify the fact of killing anyone, especially a child. Prayers up for both of their families.

  • carolinagirl39 Aug 17, 2011

    @durbingoodwin. He admitted to the killing and I'm sure they were able to collect additional details they cant disclose. Especially since folk do not have a problem trying to plead insanity. Duhhh we know he has to be crazy but I'd bet he considered his options. Just speculating, but since they were in the process of seperating perhaps he didnt want to pay support to Cooper because he might have likely become the custodial parent. So he murdered them both.Either way this is very sad. Our moral fiber has deteriorated so bad that killing someone is the first option it seems these days. I for one am sickened by the number of domestic murders recently. Praying for the families.. 3 lives wasted..

  • Frank Downtown Aug 17, 2011

    brendabdavis- You can't generalize this case. He seems to have gone crazy. This has nothing to do with him being gay as you can't generalize gay parent based on this one case no more than you can generalize straight parents based on the Brad Cooper or Jason Young cases.

  • jetset Aug 16, 2011

    Hopefully, it will come out in the trial why the innocent child was murdered. Sick AND evil.

  • ebeamer7472 Aug 16, 2011

    Well, this is also complicated by the fact that the two were separating but planning to co-parent. I suspect it might be a crime of passion murder too, but somewhere the violence between them carried over to the child. What a tragedy, what a waste of talent and training.

  • jetset Aug 16, 2011

    Personally, I think this will end up being a crime of passion murder. However, it is hard to imagine why the poor innocent child as killed. This distinguished Doctor is as sick as they come. A passion crime doesn't require intelligence for sure. Sad, sad, sad.