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22 bodies remain unidentified as Penrose funeral home owners prepare for arraignments in Colorado court

22 bodies remain unidentified as funeral home owners in Colorado prepare for court
22 bodies remain unidentified as funeral home owners in Colorado prepare for court 00:32

Twenty-two bodies remain unidentified months after the gruesome discovery of 190 "improperly stored" bodies was made at the Return to Nature Funeral Home. It was October of last year when Fremont County authorities discovered the scene after neighbors complained of a strong odor. 

Jon and Carie Hallford were arrested in November of last year in Oklahoma on several crimes, including abuse of a corpse, theft, money laundering and forgery, which are all felonies. 

Jon Hallford Wagoner County Sheriff

Jon Hallford bonded out last month after a judge lowered his bail from $2 million to $100,000. Per the terms of his release, he had to surrender his passport and have no contact with the victims. On Thursday, Hallford appeared in court for a preliminary hearing where only evidence on the money laundering charges was presented due to the procedural legal structure in Colorado. 

His next court appearance is at 9 a.m. on March 21 for an arraignment. Carie Hallford is also set for an arraignment at the same time and date. As of Thursday, she remained in custody. 

Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen said his office would like to see the Hallfords' court proceedings paired up for a joint trial, "We do want them to be paired up so we can do a joint trial."

Carie Hallford Wagoner County Sheriff

All decedents were removed from the funeral home on Oct. 13, 2023 and transported to the El Paso County Coroner's Office.

A total of 22 bodies still have not been identified. On Friday, Gov. Jared Polis issued a second Executive Order to provide an additional $220,000 for DNA testing related to the funeral home investigation. 

The Environmental Protection Agency had scheduled crews to mobilize to the site around Jan. 17 for demolition. That date has been delayed due to "final logistical arrangements and cold temperatures forecasted." The EPA has rescheduled the demolition for the last week of February and has stated it will take approximately 10 days, weather permitting.

Return to Nature started in 2017 and offered cremations and "green" burials without embalming fluids.  

Return to Nature Funeral Home CBS

Additional Information from the Fremont County Sheriff's Office: 

Families who have not already done so are asked to go to and complete the questionnaire to assist in this process.

If you believe you or your loved one might have been impacted and you have further questions, please send an email to This is the most effective way to connect with resources; a person will respond to all emails from family members.

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