The death of the late baseball legend Ted Williams' only son has once again cast a spotlight on a Scottsdale-based cryonics facility, spurring debate about whether John Henry Williams has been shipped to the lab to be frozen alongside his father.
Citing Williams family sources, the Boston Globe reported Monday that Alcor Life Extension Foundation already has possession of John Henry Williams' body at its Scottsdale Airpark facility.
Reached Monday, Alcor officials declined to comment on whether his remains are being prepared to be suspended in liquid nitrogen in the hope that medical breakthroughs may one day restore the dead to life.
"It's our policy not to confirm or deny the existence of any patient here at Alcor," said Alcor Chief Executive Officer Joe Waynick.
John Henry Williams died of leukemia at UCLA Medical Center on Saturday. The 35-year-old son of the late Boston Red Sox great sparked controversy when he had his father's remains frozen at Alcor in July 2002.
John Heer, a Cleveland attorney for Ted Williams' eldest daughter, Bobby-Jo Williams Ferrell, said Monday he doubts Williams' son is at Alcor because he owed the cryonics firm a huge debt.
Heer said documents he and his clients have obtained show John Henry owed Alcor more than $100,000 for the preservation of his father.
"There is nothing that we've been given or told that indicates that bill was ever paid," Heer said.
Heer and Bobby-Jo Williams Ferrell have demanded Alcor disclose documents showing that Ted Williams agreed to have his body turned over to the cryonics facility. Ferrell's husband, Mark, said Monday from his Florida home that they are close to filing a lawsuit to reclaim Ted Williams' body so it can be cremated.
The debate over John Henry Williams' whereabouts comes as state lawmakers are considering a bill that would give the state oversight of cryonics facilities.
Bill sponsor Rep. Bob Stump, R-Peoria, said the current version of his bill might not help solve the mystery about the identities of bodies frozen at Alcor.
So far there is not a requirement of disclosure, but Stump said the language in the bill has not been finalized.