Local News

Former Duke doctor injured; partner, child found dead

Posted August 13, 2011 9:20 a.m. EDT
Updated August 14, 2011 3:35 p.m. EDT

— A former Duke University doctor was listed in serious condition after he was found bloody and semiconscious in his Seattle apartment Thursday, according to The Seattle Times. His partner and their adopted child were found dead nearby from knife wounds, the paper reported.

Dr. Louis Chen, 39, is expected to survive. No charges have been filed and no arrests have been made. Authorities stopped short of declaring the killings the result of domestic violence, but reiterated that detectives are not looking for suspects, according to the paper.

Chen completed a three-year residency at Duke University in the spring and had come to Seattle with his longtime partner, Eric Cooper, 29, and their son, who was nearly 3, the paper reported.

The King County Medical Examiner performed autopsies Friday, but said no information about the cause of death or positive identifications would be released until Monday at the earliest.

Police continued piecing together what happened in the 17th-floor apartment in the First Hill neighborhood, but said they believed there was no ongoing threat to the community.

Officers were responding Thursday to a report of an injured man at the apartment building when they found the two men in the living room and the toddler dead in a bathroom.

"It's just so horrific," said police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb. "The officers came here not expecting an incident of this magnitude."

Chen, his partner and child moved to Seattle from Durham last month, The Times reported, citing address databases. He 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.

The men 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.

Washington Department of Health records showed that he obtained a license to practice medicine in Washington in January, according to state Department of Health records.

Dr. Mark Feinglos, the Duke University division chief, worked with him and oversaw his training during a three-year endocrinology fellowship.

"He was here and he was just outstanding. A really good guy," Feinglos told The Times. "I'm shocked by this news, really. It's just appalling."

Feinglos declined to otherwise talk about his former student except to say he was not aware of any problems in his personal life.