- Owners of Colorado funeral home arrested after 189 decomposing bodies found, prompting local disaster emergency declaration and FBI assistance.
- Hallford owners face charges of abuse of a corpse, theft, money laundering, and forgery, held on $2 million bond and to be extradited.
- Investigation reveals sealed affidavit details described as “absolutely shocking,” efforts made to identify bodies and notify affected families while preventing victimization.
Authorities have arrested the owners of a funeral home in Colorado where 189 decomposing bodies were discovered. The bodies, which were improperly stored, prompted the governor to declare a local disaster emergency and request assistance from the FBI. Jon and Carie Hallford, the owners of the funeral home, were arrested in Oklahoma on charges of abuse of a corpse, theft, money laundering, and forgery. They are currently being held on a $2 million cash bond and will be extradited to Colorado. Details within the sealed affidavit have been described as “absolutely shocking” by officials.
The investigation began in October after residents near The Return to Nature Funeral Home in Colorado Springs reported a foul odor coming from the building. The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office obtained a warrant to enter the premises and discovered the decomposing bodies. Initially, 115 bodies were reported, but the number was later increased to 189. The bodies are in such poor condition that DNA identification is necessary. So far, 110 bodies have been identified.
Efforts are underway to provide accurate information and notifications to the families affected by this tragedy. Coroner Randy Keller emphasized the importance of preventing further victimization as families continue to grieve their loved ones. Sheriff Allen Cooper described the area of the funeral home where the bodies were improperly stored as “horrific” but did not provide additional details to protect the families’ privacy. The scene was so distressing that a paramedic who responded developed a rash and required medical evaluation.