Funeral Home Scandal Leaves Owners With Hundreds Of Charges

The owners of the Colorado funeral home where 190 decomposing bodies were found were returned to the state before Thanksgiving to face more than two hundred felony charges, the Associated Press reported.

Carie and Jon Hallford, who co-owned the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose, Colorado, appeared in separate advisement hearings in a Colorado Springs District Court where District Judge Samorreyan Burney continued their $2 million cash bail.

Carie Hallford’s attorney requested for her bail to be reduced to $50,000 due to her lack of a criminal record. However, Judge Burney kept her bail at $2 million, noting that she and her husband face over 250 felony charges.

The Hallfords are charged with 190 counts of abuse of a corpse, five counts of theft, four counts of money laundering, and more than 50 counts of forgery.

The couple will each enter a plea on the charges this week.

The case first began in early October when police were notified about an “abhorrent smell” coming from inside a decrepit building at the Return to Nature Funeral Home.

In total, 190 sets of remains, some stored for as many as four years, were recovered and removed from the building. Using fingerprints, medical reports, and DNA if necessary, the coroner’s office began the process of identifying the bodies.

According to court records, the families of the deceased were falsely told that their loved ones were cremated and were given materials that were not the loved ones’ ashes.

The Hallfords were arrested at the home of Jon Hallford’s father in Muskogee, Oklahoma on November 8.

Carie Hallford returned to Colorado Springs and was booked into the El Paso County Jail on November 21. Jon Hallford was returned to Colorado Springs the following day.

In a statement on November 29, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that the Return to Nature Funeral Home would be demolished to “safely remove biological and hazardous materials found in the building.”