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Cryonics Lab in Inquiry Freezes, Stores Another Body

Times Staff Writer

A cryonics laboratory under investigation for homicide in the beheading of an 83-year-old woman has frozen and stored another body at the facility without legal permission to do so, authorities said Thursday.

The body of an elderly man who died May 7 of heart disease at his home in south Florida was transported by air to the Alcor Life Extension Foundation laboratory here the following day and suspended in a tank of liquid nitrogen, authorities said.

Dan Cupido, supervising investigator for the Riverside County coroner’s office, said county Health Department officials have refused to grant Alcor permission to store the body.

“The county Health Department would not issue them a permit to do that,” Cupido said. “Now, there is an issue over whether it is legal or not.”

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Alcor spokesman Carlos Mondragon declined to identify the Florida man whose frozen remains join another body, six human heads, two dogs and a cat already suspended in liquid nitrogen at Alcor’s laboratory west of downtown Riverside.

“We had agreed to notify the Riverside coroner’s office when we would do another one and we did that,” Mondragon said.

But the latest freezing was done without publicity, he said, because “we are not publicity hounds.”

Alcor and other advocates of cryonics freeze heads and bodies in the expectation that they will be returned to life at an uncertain date in the future, and entire bodies can be cloned to go with the heads. Cryobiologists, scientists who study the process of life at very low temperatures, scoff at such beliefs.

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Mondragon said the man was a member of Alcor and that his body was frozen at a cost of between $80,000 and $100,000 “funded through his life insurance.”

The Riverside County district attorney’s office is investigating the coroner’s ruling in February that the death of 83-year-old Dora Kent at the same laboratory was a “homicide” resulting from a lethal dose of barbiturates.

After Kent’s death, her head was surgically removed at the Alcor lab and frozen in liquid nitrogen. But the whereabouts of Dora Kent’s head, which was removed from the laboratory and hidden by unidentified Alcor members, remains a mystery.

Saul Kent, son of the dead woman and an advocate of cryonics, has denied that his mother was the victim of a homicide.


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