When a body is brought into Alcor's facility, the patient's blood is pumped out and replaced with a chemical concoction to minimize freezing damage. In many cases, the head is separated from the body with the member's prior consent. Johnson said he began to grow uneasy about his new employer once he saw what went on in Alcor's operating room, where he witnessed three suspensions.
"It was barbaric ... the third suspension that I witnessed, they actually used a hammer and a chisel," he said. "I actually witnessed them remove her head with a chisel and a hammer."
Johnson said his concern grew when he was told about an incident that took place in the hills above Los Angeles in 1992. Alcor had received word that Alcor member A-1260, a 39-year-old man suffering from AIDS, was very near death and stopped all his medications. According to a lengthy summary of the case on Alcor's Web site, a response team was assembled at the home of the man and his partner, a makeshift operating room was constructed in the home's garage and the team waited two days for the man to die.
Johnson claimed he was told that an experienced Alcor-contract employee had grown impatient, and allegedly injected the dying man with a potent muscle-relaxant that stopped his breathing and may have hastened his death.
It was at that point, Johnson said, that he "went into whistle-blower mode" and started to wear a wire and record conversations at the company.
Johnson gave ABC News a recording of a conversation he claims is with a longtime Alcor employee who had been present at the home of the patient.
Johnson: Yeah, [---] was telling me the other day about an incident involving [an Alcor employee] where I guess he kind of helped someone along a little bit.
Alcor employee: Yeah.
Johnson: What, who was the patient?
Alcor employee: You'll excuse me if I don't name names.
Johnson: That's OK.
Alcor employee: We had to carry him. Got him onto a gurney and took him up the street to the garage and got him tucked in. And we waited. And we waited quite a while. He was not very far from dying.
Johnson: So did [a longtime Alcor employee] just get impatient and --
Alcor employee: Well, it's a little hard to determine what the hell [his] reasons were. There's the real reasons and then there's reasons he gave ... Plus there were other considerations, too. Traffic was a problem. ... Anyway, so [he] asked [another party] for some metubine iodide.
Alcor employee: Some what?
Alcor employee: Metubine iodide.
Johnson said, "I knew exactly what that drug was and what it did. I wanted to hear him identify the drug."
Alcor employee: And [the Alcor employee] gave it, and after about seven or eight minutes he quit breathing, which was entirely to be expected. ... It wasn't anything that wasn't going to happen, but -- and we did beat the traffic.
Johnson also provided ABC News with another recording, which, he said, is with a company executive, indicating the allegation seemed to be well-known at the highest levels of Alcor.
Alcor executive: We just can't do stuff like that. That would absolutely destroy us. That could kill us.
Alcor executive: We're pretty secure in all this stuff because even though a lot of people nowadays know about it, nobody can really prove anything and if it came down to a court issue, you know, who's going to say anything? Who's going to admit anything?