X-Message-Number: 22462
From: "Mark Plus" <>
Subject: "Cryonics" as "crimes against the dead"
Date: Wed, 03 Sep 2003 21:26:41 -0700


The Daily Courier
PRESCOTT   Edwin Wilmer Rowlette, a 75-year-old Prescott man who faces a 
charge of crimes against the dead, said Tuesday he did nothing wrong by 
keeping his wife s body   along with those of 10 dead cats   in a chest 
freezer for more than five years.

 She was released to our corporation by standard procedures,  he said, 
adding that he is surprised the public learned about the body.  Now we ve 
got to be able to prove that and we ve also got to go through any necessary 
licensing that might be needed.   Courier/Jo. L. Keener

Edwin Wilmer Rowlette walks out of the Yavapai County Jail Tuesday 
afternoon. A judge released him to pretrial services after Prescott police 
charged him with crimes against the dead. Rowlette said that the body in his 
freezer is that of his wife, who died five and a half years ago.

Prescott police arrested Rowlette early Tuesday morning after they received 
a call from his daughter the night before. She told officers about a body in 
a freezer at a residence in the 1100 block of Willow Creek Road, Prescott 
Police Department spokesman Steve Skurja said.

 Officers came over and determined that it was indeed the case,  he said. 
 At that time the house was sealed off and the search warrant began to be 

Rowlette, who went home Tuesday afternoon after a judge ordered his release 
to the pretrial services division of the Yavapai County Adult Probation 
Department, said he was cryogenically storing his wife s body with the hope 
of someday bringing her back to life.

 We would like to restore her back to life as soon as we can get the 
necessary professionals such as a restorative surgeon and the necessary 
healer cells,  he said.  These are all under development. 

He claims that the McCandless Research and Development Foundation, which 
operates out of his home, does many different things including consultation, 
and biological and nutritional research for the purpose of cryonics.

Prescott Police Sgt. Mike Kabbel said that the foundation does exist but 
that it did not originate initially for cryogenics. He said the founder 
originally established it to gain patents on various items.

He said his wife Marcia died of natural causes after she spent months in a 
nursing home.

 She wanted to get home and be with her cats and go out and look at the 
North Star at night,  he said.  It only lasted for about two weeks. 

He said he spent hours and hours assuring the proper preservation of his 
wife s body.

Skurja said three people, including Rowlette, occupied the home when police 
arrived early Tuesday morning. They appear to be unrelated, he said.

 The owner was taken downtown and questioned,  he said.  He was arrested 
around 6 a.m. for crimes against the dead. The other folks were renters and 
they were asked to leave the area. 

Skurja said that Rowlette has been living at the house for a year.

At about 1 p.m., investigators removed the freezer with the woman s body 
from a metal storage container in the backyard at the residence.

 They made removal of the entire freezer with the contents inside, which 
will be moved to the Medical Examiner s Office,  he said.

He said the inside of the freezer was lined with normal housing insulation 
and packed with dry ice.

Skurja said investigators located about 10 frozen cats in the freezer with 
the body.

He said animal control personnel came to the location to remove other dead 
cats as well as about 25 living cats that were wandering in and around the 
residence, which appeared to be filthy and in complete disarray.

Skurja recalled another frozen body case that authorities uncovered in this 
area in the past 30 years.

 We normally do not see things like this,  he said, but  our town is getting 
bigger every day. Being in law enforcement for 30 years, things do not 
surprise me. 

In July 1994, the Yavapai County Sheriff s Office (YCSO) uncovered the body 
of a 21-year-old Costa Mesa, Calif., woman in a yellow Ryder truck at a 
Prescott Country Club residence in Dewey. The victim, Denise Huber, had been 
missing since June 1991.

YCSO Capt. Scott Mascher, who supervised that investigation, said they found 
Huber s body in a chest freezer after the Phoenix Police Department asked 
them to verify whether a Ryder truck at the Dewey residence was stolen.

 It was a frozen and naked girl, handcuffed,  Mascher said.

The evidence that investigators collected during the course of 15 days 
enabled them to trace back the steps of Huber s killer, 37-year-old John 
Joseph Famalaro, who had abducted her from a California highway.

 She had broken down on a highway running through Costa Mesa,  Mascher said. 
 She stopped and vanished for three years. He killed her in a (California) 
storage shed. 

He said that because the body was very well preserved they were able to 
identify Huber through her thumbprint.

 We still had to use a chemical to soften and loosen up her fingers after 
she was thawed out so that we could get a good identifiable print,  he said. 
 We never dealt with a completely frozen body before. 

Mascher said that, after YCSO conducted its investigation, California 
authorities prosecuted the case.

Sara Gober, a neighbor who has lived in the house next to Rowlette s home 
for the past 18 years, said she doesn t know the suspect very well, but that 
he appeared unusual.

 He was an older man that kept a lot to himself,  she said.  He wouldn t let 
anybody inside his house. He was not the type of person that I would be 
neighborly to.

 The only weird thing that we would notice was big trucks came in   ice 
trucks   one that says Penguin on it,  she said.  And we never could figure 
out what they were doing. 

She said that 10 years ago, an elderly woman who owned the house died and 
left her home to a church.

 And ever since then it has gone downhill,  she said.  The church would let 
people who didn t have homes live in there   a lot of transient-looking type 
of people. 

Gober said she is not surprised that police uncovered a frozen body on the 

 It doesn t surprise me coming from this house,  she said.

Steven Schnur, a Motel 6 employee, said he was working the night shift when 
Rowlette s daughter came to check in.

 She ended up just spilling her guts and told me that she just met up with 
her dad, whom she hadn t seen since she was about 10 years old,  he said. 
 She was over at his house and looked at one of his freezers and found (a 
woman s) body in there packed in dry ice. 

Schnur said she mentioned to him that her dad was obsessed with cryogenics.

Rowlette said he had reunited with his daughter after he hadn t seen her for 
more than 20 years.

Skurja said that police are assuming that the frozen body is the suspect s 

 We are going by what he is telling us now,  he said.  The attempts to 
positively identify the body are being taken now. 

If it turns out that the woman is his wife and that her death is a result of 
natural causes rather than foul play, police will close the case, but 
Rowlette will still face the initial charge, he said.

 It is against the law to have human remains in the freezer,  he said.  The 
body on ice could cause some kind of a health problem. 

According to Arizona statutes,  it is unlawful for a person, without the 
authority of law   to store, prepare, disinfect or embalm a dead human 

Kabbel said that police are checking to see how Rowlette obtained the body.

Before he went home, Rowlette said that he acknowledges that some people 
might think he is crazy.

 I m concerned what my neighbors are going to say because I do not think it 
is going to make them happy and I do not think it is going to make the city 
of Prescott happy,  he said.  I m looking for good things in the future. 

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