Local News

Former Duke doctor held in Seattle double homicide

Posted August 15, 2011 12:29 p.m. EDT
Updated August 15, 2011 6:41 p.m. EDT

— A judge in Seattle found probable cause Monday to hold a former Duke University doctor in the investigation of the stabbing deaths last week of a man and a child.

Authorities have until Tuesday to decide whether to charge Louis Chao Chen, 39, in the case, according to court records.

Chen completed a three-year residency at Duke University in the spring and had moved to Seattle about a month ago with his longtime partner, Eric Cooper, 29, and their adopted son, who was nearly 3, The Seattle Times reported.

According to a court document, a co-worker went to Chen's high-rise apartment last Thursday morning when he failed to show up for work. The woman called 911 when Chen answered the door nude and covered in blood.

When officers arrived, they found him slumped in the doorway and found Cooper dead inside the apartment and the child dead in a bathroom, according to the court document.

An officer administering first aid to Chen asked, "Who stabbed you and your partner?" Chen replied, "I did," court records state.

Prosecutors asked that Chen not be released during the aggravated murder investigation, noting that he has few ties to the Seattle area, has relatives overseas and is a risk to flee.

Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, said Chen would be booked when he is released from a local hospital.

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.

State Department of Health records in Washington showed that he obtained a license to practice medicine there in January.

Chen and Cooper also lived together in Chicago, where Chen graduated from the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine in 2000, according to information published by the North Carolina Medical Board.