IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Owners of a funeral home where 190 decaying bodies were found to appear in court

Family members had been falsely told their loved ones were cremated and had received materials that were not their ashes, court records said.
Authorities said Thursday they were investigating the improper storage of human remains at a southern Colorado funeral home that performs “green” burials without embalming chemicals or metal caskets.
Sheriff's deputies guard a road outside Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose, Colo., on Oct. 5, 2023. Jerilee Bennett / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — The owners of a Colorado funeral home where 190 decomposing bodies were found are set to appear in court Tuesday, facing allegations that they abused corpses, stole, laundered money and forged documents.

Jon and Carie Hallford own Return to Nature Funeral Home, which has a facility in Penrose where investigators in early October discovered dozens of stacked bodies, some that had death dates as far back as 2019, according to a federal affidavit.

Family members had been falsely told their loved ones were cremated and had received materials that were not their ashes, court records said.

Several families who hired Return to Nature to cremate their loved ones have told The Associated Press that the FBI confirmed to them privately that their loved ones were among the decaying bodies.

The Hallfords were arrested in Oklahoma last month, after allegedly fleeing Colorado to avoid prosecution. They have been jailed on a $2 million bond. Both have been charged with approximately 190 counts of abuse of a corpse, five counts of theft, four counts of money laundering and over 50 counts of forgery.

Court records say Jon Hallford is being represented by the public defender’s office, which does not comment on cases to the media. Carie Hallford is being represented by attorney Michael Stuzynski, who declined to comment on the case.

After the bodies were removed from the facility in Penrose, about an hour south of Denver, authorities began working to identify the remains using fingerprints, dental records, medical hardware and DNA.

The Hallfords’ funeral home business is based in Colorado Springs, just west of Penrose.