A hearing underway that could determine what happens to the body of a Colorado Springs woman will be continued Monday, March 1. The battle is between the woman's daughter and a lab that hopes to one day bring the woman back to life.
Friday, both sides presented witnesses. The family of the dead woman Mary Robbins testified Friday afternoon, including her daughter, Darlene Robbins.
Magistrate Barbara Hughes decided after hearing arguments to continue the proceedings on Monday, March 1.
Earlier Friday Judith Richard a registered nurse with Pikes Peak hospice answered questions. Richard testified that Mary Robbins requested to be admitted to the hospice because she was in so much pain, but due to her end of life wishes filed with Alcor they could not admit her.
The body of Mary Robbins has been stored at a Colorado Springs mortuary since she died from cancer on February 9th. Mary's body now lies in a special container until the final outcome of the hearing.
Mary's daughter Darlene Robbins said, "They have been going to the Shrine of Remembrance and packing my mom's head in dry ice."
Darlene went on to say the family was grieving and preparing to cremate Mary when an Arizona non-profit stepped in, claiming the body was theirs.
Darlene adds, "If they get her body, it's going to destroy me. It's just going to be awful."
Mary signed a contract with Alcor Life Extension Foundation back in 2006 agreeing to donate her body to the non-profit. She purchased a $50,000 annuity naming Alcor as the beneficiary. That's how she would pay for the process of having her brain preserved using an ultra-cold process called cryonics.
Her dream: to someday be restored to good health when technology advances.
But Darlene says Mary changed her mind shortly before she died and signed a new form naming her family as the beneficiary, not Alcor.
"When the reality of death came and the pain and the saying goodbye... she realized that that wasn't what she wanted."
Darlene says Mary didn't have a copy of her Alcor contract so she didn't know how to cancel it. When Alcor showed up at the mortuary to get Mary's remains, the family hired attorney Robert Scranton.
Scranton says, "They only want the head, that's what was contracted for was the head."
Scranton says he'll not only try to prove that Mary changed her mind, but that it's too late for Alcor to carry out the cryonics process now.
"What's occurred since her death will not work and it's too late under their protocols so I don't know how that plays into this... that what's being done to the body is actually against their own protocols."
Scranton also believes Alcor's practices may not fly in Colorado. "It may be that the court can rule that even though they have a right to it, that what they want to do to the body is against Colorado public policy."
11 News got on line, and found the story of an 81-year-old Iowa man whose family battled with Alcor last year. Like Mary, Orville Richardson also signed a contract with the foundation. Alcor asked a judge to have his body exhumed five months after he was buried.
In that case, the judge ruled in the family's favor, saying loved ones had the right to decide his final resting place. Orville's sister says she's been following Mary's case, knowing what the family is going through, and is praying for them.
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