BURLINGAME, Calif. (AP) -- The Minnesota doctor accused of traveling halfway across the country, then stabbing her 13-year-old son to death, showed signs of strain before the killing, colleagues and others who knew her say.
Donna Anderson, 48, an obstetrician at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, was being held in the Sunday morning stabbing death of her son, Stephen Burns. The stabbing, at the Burlingame home of Anderson's ex-husband, Frank Burns, also injured Burns.
Anderson brought Stephen to California so he could visit his father and grandparents. Police have not yet released a motive in the killing, but police spokesman Brad Floyd said Stephen was planning to stay in California.
Those who saw Anderson in recent days said she was troubled.
Last Friday, Anderson walked into a Mailboxes Etc. in North Oaks, Minn. Employee Scott Reich said that Anderson, a regular customer, appeared agitated while she paid $700 in cash to ship seven boxes filled with Stephen's possessions.
She asked for a piece of paper and wrote a note. "She asked us to put it in the box, and tape up the box," Reich said. "It said, 'Stephen, always remember that I love you. Mom.' Then she started to break down a little bit when she did that."
The boxes were addressed to Burns' residence in Burlingame.
Anderson was described by a co-worker as devoted to her patients and loving toward her son. But Dr. Robert Hildebrandt also said she had appeared troubled during the last six months. She resigned from her post on Jan. 7, the hospital said.
Frank Burns told police Anderson showed up at his house, and after he spoke with her she went to the bedroom where her son was staying.
"I don't know what the conversation contained, but it certainly was not, that we know of, argumentative," police spokesman Brad Floyd said. A few minutes later, Frank Burns said he heard a shriek and ran into the room to find Anderson stabbing their son in the chest and upper body.
Frank Burns was stabbed in the leg with a 7-inch kitchen knife as he tried to restrain Anderson, police said. He was treated and released from a hospital.
After her arrest, Anderson spoke with police, and asked for an attorney.
"She was calm," Floyd said. "She seemed very aware of her surroundings."
Anderson was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon at San Mateo County Superior Court. No phone number could be found for Anderson's attorney.
Regions Hospital on Monday released a statement expressing shock and sadness, and extending sympathy to Anderson's family, her patients and colleagues.
In Shoreview, a Twin Cities suburb, Anderson's neighbors described Stephen as a polite boy with many friends on the block.
Stephen attended The Blake School, a middle school in suburban Hopkins.
Cathy McLane, the school's director, said administrators met with the faculty on Monday morning and were talking to students.
"Assuming this is true," she said, "we are dealing with a great loss in our community."
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.