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EPA reschedules demolition of Colorado funeral home for next month where 190 “improperly stored” bodies were discovered

The Environmental Protection Agency will demolish the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose next month where 190
EPA+reschedules+demolition+of+Colorado+funeral+home+for+next+month+where+190+improperly+stored+bodies+were+discovered

The Environmental Protection Agency will demolish the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose next month where 190 “improperly stored” bodies were discovered in October. The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation on Oct. 4 after neighbors reported an odor emanating from the Penrose facility located at 31 Werner Road. Following an assessment, the EPA determined that “demolition of the building is necessary to safely remove biological and hazardous materials found in the building.” The plan is to conduct the demolition in January. Crews will mobilize to the site around Jan. 17, 2024. The demolition will take approximately 10 days, weather permitting, according to the EPA. The EPA team, wearing protective clothing to protect them from any residual medical or hazardous materials that remained inside the building, conducted an assessment of the building on Nov. 15. The EPA’s emergency response team responds to oil spills, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents and provides support when local first responder capabilities have been exceeded. 

 

Jon and Carie Hallford were arrested in November in Oklahoma on suspicion of committing the crimes of abuse of a corpse, theft, money laundering, and forgery, which are all felonies. The Hallfords remain in custody after their extradition back to Colorado. They are scheduled for their next court appearance in January. After the search warrant was issued, investigators found the 190 bodies inside the building and said the “conditions within the building were abhorrent” and that “bodies were located stacked on top of each other and some were not in body bags.” The affidavit also goes on, “Human decomposition fluids and insects lined the floors” with some of the dates on the bodies listing death in 2019.  According to investigators, the identified bodies were reported to the state by the funeral home as cremated or buried. 

All decedents were removed from the funeral home on Oct. 13 and transported to the El Paso County Coroner’s Office.

 

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