A bitter divorce battle in Russia has led to cryogenically frozen bodies being seized in an extraordinary day-time raid.
Staff of a company set up by Valeria Udalova, 59, grabbed the remains of people – including from Britain and the US – who paid thousands of pounds hoping to be brought back to life when science advances to allow this.
She and her team raided the company run by her ex-husband Danila Medvedev, 41, near Moscow, which is home to Russia’s leading cryo-storage facility, say reports.
They drained liquid nitrogen from giant tanks containing frozen bodies and grabbed these and some detached human brains, then loaded them on trucks.
Police were called and intercepted the macabre cargo of human remains preserved by ‘Frankenstein’ technology offering humans the chance to ‘come back to life’ in future.
But Medvedev told RTVi: ‘The police did not catch Valeria. She left, taking someone’s brain from the cryo-storage.
‘The brains of our neuro-patients were kept separately, in special metal medical boxes.’
Both Medvedev, who runs KrioRus, and its ex-boss Udalova, who started a new company called Open Cryonics in Tver region, claim to be the legitimate owners of the human remains.
Police are now examining the rival claims while demanding the feuding ex-spouses guarantee the ‘integrity’ of the frozen corpses and brains as well as the bodies of dozens of dogs and cats that owners wanted to bring back to life in the future.
There are fears the remains may have been damaged in the raid.
‘Valeria did not do it well, she just cheated,’ alleged Medvedev, who started a new family with another woman.
‘There was a risk of damage, it is impossible to transport dewars in a horizontal position.’
‘While attempting to steal our dewars, this nitrogen was spilled, most of the nitrogen was poured onto the ground,’ added Aleksey Potapov, an expert with KrioRus.
The human remains ‘began to heat up’.
Udalova claims she was unfairly ousted from her old company and is the rightful owner of its assets.
‘There are a lot of orders from different countries, especially from dog and cat owners,’ she said.
‘This is the reason why Medvedev wanted to take KrioRus for himself.’
The cost of full body cryopreservation is around £26,000, or to save only the brain, £11,000.
Some 82 patients were in the company’s warehouse, including 25 foreigners.
Among the brains frozen in the Moscow store is Dr Yuri Pichugin, who died in 2018 after inventing the chemical cocktail which preserves people for posterity in a deep freeze at minus 196C.
A brain ‘woken’ in the decades or centuries to come could be implanted in another human body, it is claimed.
For some this is a sci-fi nightmare and a macabre affront to nature, for others a realistic prospect and a tantalising step towards everlasting life.