Scottsdale-Based Alcor Wins Court Battle to Dig Up Dead Guy So Head Can be Frozen

About a year ago, then 81-year-old Orville Richardson kicked the bucket in Iowa and was buried by his family near his home.

Now, a year after his death, Richardson's body will be dug up, his head will be chopped off, it will be frozen, and then stored in Scottsdale thanks to a ruling by an Iowa judge last week.

Richardson signed a contract with Scottsdale-based Alcor Life Extension in 2009, which expressed his wishes to not be buried but to have his head removed and held in "cryonic suspension" by Alcor.

When he died, Richardson's brother and sister had him buried but were soon sued by Alcor to have the body exhumed and brought to Scottsdale for freezing.

Initially, a district court ruled in favor of Richardson's family but the company took the case to an appeals court, which ruled that the remains belonged to Alcor.

This is the second, big legal victory for Alcor since March.

Then, Mary Robbins of Colorado Springs bit the dust but not before signing documents giving Alcor the right to cryogenically preserve her head and brain.

Robbins, who died after a battle with cancer, signed away her noggin to Alcor in 2006, as well as a $50,000 annuity, with the hopes of being brought back to life in the future when a cure for the disease has been discovered.

When Robbins died on February 9, Alcor called the funeral home where her body was held, looking to collect the head.

However, Robbins' daughter, Darlene Robbins, claimed her mother verbally opted out of her agreement with Alcor in the days before her death and that both the head and the $50,000 belong to her.

The judge in the case ruled in favor of the people-freezing company and that the signed agreement between Robbins and Alcor would stand, despite Darlene Robbins' claims.

That case is expected to be appealed.

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