msnbc.com
updated 8/16/2011 3:04:43 PM ET 2011-08-16T19:04:43

A physician who was about to start a new job at a Seattle hospital on Tuesday was charged in the gruesome stabbing deaths of his longtime partner and their 2-year-old son.

Two counts of aggravated first-degree murder were filed against Dr. Louis C. Chen, 39, in the stabbing deaths of Eric Cooper, 29, and their son, Cooper Chen.

The bodies were found on Thursday at the high-rise apartment they shared in Seattle's First Hill neighborhood.

Court documents allege Chen stabbed Cooper more than 100 times and cut the throat of the child.

Chen, who suffered undisclosed injuries in the incident, will be booked into the King County Jail and held without bail after his release from the hospital, the prosecutor's office said.

Arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 29.

Prosecutors have not suggested a motive for the crime. Media reports said Chen may have been upset by an impending breakup with Cooper.

Aggravated murder carries a sentence of either life in prison without release or the death penalty. King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg will have 30 days from the time of arraignment to decide whether to file a notice of intent to seek the death penalty.

Chen and Cooper had moved to Seattle in July from Durham, N.C., where Chen completed a two-year clinical fellowship in endocrinology at Duke University, according to The Seattle Times. Chen was to start a new a new job as an endocrinologist at Virginia Mason Medical Center, within walking distance from their Seattle apartment, last week.

When Chen didn't show up for his work orientation on Thursday, a manager at Virginia Mason went to his 17th-floor apartment to check on him.

According to court documents:

Chen was naked and covered in dried blood when he opened the door; another man's body was seen lying on the floor.

Seattle police were called. Officers found Cooper dead with stab wounds on his body. The child was found dead in the bathtub of the master bedroom. Chen was slumped down by the front door.

An officer nudged Chen and asked him, "Who did this?"

Chen responded: "What?"

"Stabbed you and him?" the officer asked.

Chen replied, "I did."

Investigators found five bloodstained knives in the apartment that may have been used in the attack, court documents say.

Autopsies determined that Cooper was stabbed "well over" 100 times to all areas of his body and the child suffered numerous cuts to his neck.

Louis Chen's injuries were not disclosed.

The couple's child was conceived with Chen's sperm and the egg of an anonymous Taiwanese woman, and carried to term by a surrogate mother from Oregon, friends told The Seattle Times. The child was born while the couple were living in Minnesota. He was adopted by Eric Cooper and named Cooper Chen, the newspaper said.

"They loved that baby. They adored him," a friend who went to medical school at the University of Chicago with Chen and is now a physician in Massachusetts told The Times. "It was one thing they always agreed on, and it was really very sweet."

The couple had their differences recently and planned to separate amicably after they got settled in Seattle, the newspaper reported.

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