‘Abhorrent Smell’: Police Arrest Colorado Funeral Home Owners After 190 Decaying Bodies Were Allegedly Found In Facility

Not from the story. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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Police on Wednesday arrested a pair of funeral home owners after 190 decaying bodies were allegedly found in their facility in October, officials say.

Jon and Carie Hallford were formally charged with abuse of a corpse, theft, money laundering and forgery, according to a press release from Colorado District Attorney Michael Allan. Bond for the couple is set for $2 million, the Associated Press (AP) reported. (RELATED: Corpse Transporter Stole Dead Man’s Credit Card And Blew Almost $15,000, Police Say)

Officers opened an investigation in October 2023 after foul odors were said to be coming from the suspects’ funeral home, Return to Nature Funeral Home, according to the press release. Police allegedly “discovered improperly stored bodies” on the site, and reported an “abhorrent smell” in their Oct. 4 search of the premises. Return to Nature was founded in 2017 and offers “green” burials. The company does not use embalming fluids on its corpses, according to AP.

The number of improperly stored bodies found at the “eco-friendly” funeral home was initially reported to be more than 115. The total later climbed up to at least 189 bodies, according to reports from mid-October. Reports from early November say 190 improperly stored bodies were discovered inside the home.

Customers of the funeral home alleged the owners may have given them fake ashes of their loved ones’ remains and that they received spurious records from the home. The owners had failed to make tax payments in recent months and were facing other money problems, AP reported, citing public records and interviews with individuals familiar with the couple.

“I don’t think any amount of jail/prison time will justify my brother having to clean my mother’s rotting flesh off her bracelet that they gave back to us. Nothing,” Tanya Wilson, whose mother’s body was allegedly discovered at the home in October, told AP. “It’s [the arrest] just one step in a long process. I don’t feel any satisfaction from this.”