Local News

Former Duke doctor charged with killing partner, child in Seattle

Posted August 16, 2011 1:55 p.m. EDT
Updated August 16, 2011 5:24 p.m. EDT

— 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.