published : 2023-11-08

190 Decaying Bodies Discovered: Arrests Made at 'Green' Funeral Home

Investigation Unveils Disturbing Findings Following Reports of Foul Odor

A photo of the exterior of Return to Nature Funeral Home in Colorado Springs, captured at dusk, showcasing its 'green' features. Taken with a Canon EOS R5.

The owners of a 'green' funeral home in Colorado have been arrested and charged after the shocking discovery of 190 decaying bodies at their facility.

Jon and Carie Hallford, the proprietors of Return to Nature Funeral Home in Colorado Springs and Penrose, were taken into custody in Wagoner, Oklahoma, on suspicion of abuse of a corpse, theft, money laundering, and forgery.

District Attorney Michael Allen, in a press release, stated that the details revealed in the sealed probable cause affidavit are truly astounding and will be unveiled at a later date as authorized by a judge.

The investigation commenced when the Fremont County Sheriff's Office received multiple reports of a putrid stench emanating from the funeral home's premises in Penrose.

An aerial view of the Colorado landscape, where the investigation into the decaying bodies at the funeral home took place. Taken with a DJI Phantom 4 Pro.

After obtaining a search warrant, law enforcement officials made a shocking discovery of improperly stored bodies at the facility.

In a subsequent phone conversation between the director of the state office of Funeral Home and Crematory Registration and Jon Hallford, attempts were made to hide the reprehensible storage conditions while admitting to the presence of an ongoing 'problem' at the establishment, which Jon claimed involved taxidermy.

Presently, out of the 190 bodies found, 110 have been identified while efforts are underway to ascertain the identities of the remaining 80 through fingerprinting, dental records, medical hardware, and DNA testing, if necessary.

Fremont County Coroner Randy Keller assured the public that the bodies are being treated with the utmost care and respect.

A close-up image of Jon and Carie Hallford, owners of Return to Nature Funeral Home, during their arrest in Wagoner, Oklahoma. Taken with a Nikon D850.

While Jon Hallford is currently held in custody at the Muskogee County jail in Oklahoma, his wife's whereabouts are unknown.

A court appearance date will be scheduled during the extradition process.

A lawsuit has been filed by a bereaved family accusing Return to Nature Funeral Home and the Hallfords of various violations, including negligence, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and breach of Colorado laws.

Multiple agencies continue to work together to identify the bodies discovered during the investigation, urging anyone who had dealings with the funeral home from September 2018 to September 2023 to fill out a questionnaire provided.