Former Exec: Ted Williams' Corpse Beheaded

ByABC News via GMA logo
September 2, 2003, 9:15 PM

S C O T T S D A L E, Ariz., Sept. 3 -- The frozen corpse of baseball legend Ted Williams is being stored at an Arizona cryonics facility, with his severed head kept in something like a lobster pot, a former executive at the cryonics company said.

Larry Johnson said he resigned last month as chief operating officer of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation because he was outraged at how Williams' remains were being treated.

"He was an American hero, true blue," Johnson said. "Now he lays frozen in Scottsdale, Arizona. His body has been just desecrated and destroyed. It's senseless."

Williams' torso and limbs are kept in one of the facility's stainless steel tanks, and his head is stored in a "lobster pot" that is kept in a freezer chest, Johnson said.

"His head is in a silver pot, it's like a lobster pot. It's inside the other vessel called a neurovault," Johnson told ABCNEWS' Good Morning America in his first television interview. "This, to me, was sickening."

The famed Boston Red Sox slugger, a former U.S. fighter pilot, died in July 5, 2002, at the age of 83. His remains came to Alcor after a dispute among his children.

Body Allegedly Damaged by Freezing Process

The philosophy behind cryonics is that the body is frozen so that it will be preserved and can thus be resuscitated at some point in the future, when a cure for the ailment that killed the person is found.

But Williams' body has sustained some damage, according to Johnson. He said Williams' brain was cracked in at least 10 places in the course of the freezing process.

"They were having temperature swings," Johnson said. "At low temperatures like that it's very drastic. That can cause cracking."

Alcor will neither confirm nor deny that it has Williams' body; it says its company policy is to keep the identities of clients confidential.

However, Alcor says it intends to sue Johnson, and contends the former employee may have had a financial motive for disparaging the company.