‘Green’ Funeral Home Customers In Colorado Allege They Were Given Fake Ashes

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John Oyewale Contributor
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Customers of a Colorado funeral home offering eco-friendly burials alleged the owners may have given them fake ashes and spurious cremation records, the Associated Press (AP) reported Friday.

Fremont County Police and other investigators found over 115 decomposing bodies in a building in Penrose, owned by the Return to Nature Funeral Home based in Colorado Springs back on Oct. 4. That number climbed to at least 189 and the investigation was progressing smoothly, Fremont County coroner Randy Keller said Thursday in a video statement. The identification of the decedents was ongoing and the figures might change, he added.

Wilbert Funeral Services, which Return to Nature Funeral Home said had handled the cremation of the loved ones of at least 10 families after last November, said they had stopped doing cremations for the funeral home since then, per the AP report. Meanwhile, the death certificates issued by Return to Nature reportedly had dates later than November and listed Wilbert as the crematory.

Wilbert won a court case in June against the financially beleaguered Return to Nature for the latter’s failure to pay for cremations, AP noted.

A second crematory, Roselawn Funeral Home, reportedly also said they did not do a cremation that Return to Nature said was done in a 2021 death certificate issued to a separate family. (RELATED: Police Investigate ‘Green’ Funeral Home After 115 Bodies Found Improperly Stored)

The medical doctor-daughter of Wesley Ford, one of the deceased, alerted her mother, Stephanie, to the possibility that Wesley’s ashes were fake after the funeral home news broke. “Mom, that’s not dad,” the daughter said, per AP.

“I let [Wesley] down,” Stephanie said to AP, in part.

Tanya Wilson, another victim, believed the ashes she had scattered in Hawaii per her deceased mother’s wishes were fake. “Any peace that we had, thinking that we honored her wishes, you know, was just completely ripped away from us,” she said to AP.

“The families of the deceased are of our utmost concern,” said coroner Keller, while also expressing concern about “the revictimization that has occurred because of this tragic event.”