Report on Williams' treatment created new interest
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Investigators are examining whether a note stating baseball slugger Ted Williams wanted to be frozen after his death was forged, and if it so, whether a crime was committed, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
|This paper is the document in question showing that Ted Williams entered a pact with his two children to be frozen.|
The inquiry is the result of a criminal complaint made last year by the husband of Williams' eldest daughter and renewed after Sports Illustrated reported new details on the state of Williams' body.
The grease-stained note is signed by Williams, his son, John Henry Williams, and his daughter, Claudia Williams. Its origin is being examined by the State Attorney's Office that covers Citrus County, where Williams lived, said Ric Ridgway, chief assistant state attorney in Ocala.
His office will decide whether to do nothing or pursue a full criminal investigation.
"I'm trying to clarify what the allegation was, if the note was signed the way the note was presented it was signed, and how the note was used," Ridgway said.
Bobby-Jo Williams Ferrell challenged the decision to send her father's body to an Arizona cryonics company where it was frozen after his July 5, 2002, death, claiming the slugger's 1996 will made clear he wanted to be cremated and his ashes scattered off the Florida coast.
After running out of money to pay her legal bills, she dropped the challenge in December and reached a settlement with her siblings.
Her husband, Mark Ferrell, said Wednesday that affidavits have been presented to investigators from two of Ted Williams' caretakers who claim Claudia Williams wasn't at the hospital on Nov. 2, 2000, the day the note is dated, and that she didn't know her father was hospitalized until a couple of days later.
"I think the witnesses we have and the documentation we have can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt ... that the note is a complete fraud," Ferrell said.
Ridgway said even if it's determined the note was forged, it doesn't necessarily mean a crime was committed since the law is very specific about what documents must be forged for the act to be criminal.
John Henry Williams' attorney has said his client left the note for an extended period of time in some files in his car trunk, where it was stained by oil or grease. Neither he nor his attorney, Eric Abel, returned phone messages Wednesday.
Claudia Williams has an unlisted number and could not be reached for comment.
Sports Illustrated reported this week that Ted Williams was decapitated by surgeons at the cryonics company where his body is suspended in liquid nitrogen, and several samples of his DNA are missing.
The magazine's report, appearing in the issue that hit newsstands Wednesday, is based on internal documents, e-mails, photographs and tape recordings supplied by a former employee of Alcor Life Extension Foundation.
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press
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