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All bodies removed from Colorado funeral home where officials say bodies were improperly stored

All the bodies that investigators say were improperly stored at a funeral home in southern Colorado have been removed, the FBI said Saturday.

State and federal officials are now entering the second phase of the investigation, which is identifying the remains, FBI Spokeswoman Vikki Migoya told CBS News Colorado.

RELATED: Calls for new regulation of death care industry mounting after discovery of bodies inside Colorado funeral home

Loved ones, funeral directors and the public expressed shock and anger when the news broke earlier this month of over 100 bodies that officials say were improperly stored at the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose. That number has since risen to 189.

Fremont County Sheriff Allen Cooper called the findings "horrific."

Funeral Home Improper Body Storage
Fremont County Coroner Randy Keller, left, meets with fellow authorities outside the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose, Colorado on Oct. 6, 2023. David Zalubowski / AP

Joe Walsh, president of the Colorado Funeral Directors Association, has been calling for new regulations of the funeral home industry, which was largely deregulated in Colorado 30 years ago.

Colorado is the only state in the country with no license requirement to be a funeral director. Walsh said a poll of members showed support for such licensing. 

The FBI said it sent investigators from its Dallas field office and national lab, as well as a HAZMAT team to assist agents from the Denver field office and local and state officials in collecting evidence and properly removing, storing, preserving and identifying the bodies.

Agents worked 12-hour shifts at the scene but were only allowed inside the funeral home for 40 minutes at a time, according to the FBI.

"The conditions were challenging, both mentally and physically," the Bureau said in a news release.

"This is our commitment to our partners and our community: We will be with them for as long as it takes to ensure all hazards are mitigated, the conditions of the scene are fully documented, and all human remains are recovered in a dignified manner," Mark Michalek, FBI Denver special agent in charge, said.

No arrests have been made to date.

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