UPDATE: Fight Over Woman's Remains Continues

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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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by enoonsti Location: enoonsti on Feb 27, 2010 at 05:56 PM
    Dear KKTV: are you able to check the IP addresses of those who have posted on this article and the last article? I have a feeling some of them - despite differing names - share the same address(es). Well anyways, "Frank C" I've noticed that when someone starts up a grammar/spelling contest, that person usually has no substantive argument for the issue at hand. It's simply there to divert attention, which is a tactic handily employed by creationists. Yet for whatever it's worth...... you misspelled "attitude" and you substituted periods for much-needed question marks. You're welcome ;)
  • by Roger Lane Location: Louisiana on Feb 27, 2010 at 07:21 AM
    Hi Betty, I have enjoyed your coverage regarding the company wanting to freeze Mary Robbins head. Shall we say CREEPY? I was surfing around on the Internet yesterday and found something interesting. Did you know this company has been accused of killing their members? I wonder if the judge knows about this? Check out these recordings that I have found. Why hasn’t anyone reported on this? This is outrageous! http://www.frozenbook.com/audio.php
  • by Frank C Location: Denver on Feb 27, 2010 at 06:13 AM
    Answer for Mark. I think you meant to say "THAN other people" at the end of your comment to me. No, my education just means I went to school and studied a subject I was interested in. Why don't you take your atitude somewhere else, like back to Alcor.
  • by Luke Location: Salem, OR on Feb 26, 2010 at 09:16 PM
    It is sad to me that this daughter did not understand her mother's dream and decided to work against it. The gift of life is far too precious to be destroying when you could be possibly saving it. Scientists are growing and printing new organs in the lab today... Can we know for sure that Mary Robbins is actually dead?
  • by Mark on Feb 26, 2010 at 07:42 PM
    Question for Mr. Frank C: Does calling yourself a "bioethicist" mean you know more about right and wrong that other people?
  • by enoonsti on Feb 26, 2010 at 07:31 PM
    Hi Frank C. If you really are a bioethicist - which I admittedly doubt - don't forget to mention this open scientists' letter in your evaluation: http://www.imminst.org/cryonics_letter/
  • by Frank C Location: Denver on Feb 26, 2010 at 05:57 PM
    That is great. Please post as soon as you know something. I am a bioethicist who is very interested in the outcome. I am working with several individuals to introduce regulation for this so-call science.
  • by KKTV on Feb 26, 2010 at 04:57 PM
    Frank - 11 News reporter Marybeth Brush is in the courtroom right now. She said around 5:30 they were in closing arguments. We'll keep you posted.
  • by Frank C Location: Denver on Feb 26, 2010 at 04:33 PM
    Betty, So what happened today. Did the judge make a decision?
  • by Betty Sexton Location: KKTV on Feb 26, 2010 at 02:53 PM
    For those who know nothing about Alcor Life Extension Foundation, it is a 501C3. Today I was in the courtroom hearing testimony from one of its board members, Dr. Brian Wowk. He explained that Alcor is indeed a non-profit organization.
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