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The owner of a Colorado funeral home and his wife have been arrested after the remains of at least 189 bodies were found inside his facility.
Jon and Carie Hallford were arrested on four felonies: abuse of a corpse, theft, money laundering, and forgery, stated district attorney Michael Allen.
Hallford owned Return to Nature Funeral Home, founded in Penrose, south of Denver.
Established in 2017, the company provided cremations and “green” burials without preserving fluids.
Over the years, the couple has experienced legal and financial issues
Hallford failed to pay taxes on time and were eviction from one of their properties. They were also sued for not paying a crematory business that stopped doing business with them.
Authorities had located the remains on October 4 after receiving a report of the location’s “abhorrent smell” inside.
Originally, officials believed there were 115 bodies inside. However, after removing all decayed remains, there were an additional 74 bodies.
Contradictory statements provide more questions than answers for 189 bodies
According to death certificates, the remains were cremated at one of two crematories; however, both locations stated they did not perform cremations for Return to Nature during the time given on the certificates, according to the Associated Press.
Return to Nature informed families that their loved ones remains were not there, such as Tanya Wilson. However, she in fact found her mother’s remains and ashes. Law officials gave Wilson her mother’s jewelry after they found it on her body.
Affected family member says jail isn’t enough
Wilson’s family is still grieving the loss of their mother and believes prison is not enough for what they have done, stating: “I don’t think any amount of jail or prison time will justify my brother having to clean my mother’s rotting flesh off her bracelet that they gave back to us. Nothing.”
Hallford is being held at the Muskogee County Jail.
It has not yet been revealed if his wife is present with him. The arrest did not bring any joy to Wilson, as she told AP, “It’s just one step in a long process. I don’t feel any satisfaction from this.”
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