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Funeral home owner wanted for abuse of corpse after woman's remains, dozens of cremains found at Denver home

Police work to arrest funeral home owner wanted for abuse of corpse
Police work to arrest funeral home owner wanted for abuse of corpse 03:23

A funeral home owner is wanted on several charges including abuse of a corpse, forgery and theft after the remains of a woman were discovered in a hearse at a Denver home along with the cremated remains of at least 30 individuals. Denver police issued an arrest warrant for Miles Harford on Friday.

Staff from the Denver Medical Examiner's Office and officers from the Denver Police Department were called to the home that Harford, 33, was renting in the 2500 block of South Quitman Street on Feb. 6 regarding a "suspicious occurrence." The person who called police was cleaning the home after evicting Harford. 

The property owner had discovered boxes of cremains in a crawlspace and reported it to the Denver Sheriff Department deputies who were on standby at the home for the eviction. The cremains found at the residence appear to have been professionally cremated.

"Nearly three dozen temporary urns were located, some of which were empty. For context, these urns are black, plastic boxes similar in size to a shoebox," said Denver Police Cmdr. Matt Clark. 

  Miles Harford LinkedIn

While examining the scene, investigators from the police department and the medical examiner's office inspected an "inoperable hearse" that was parked in the backyard of the property. That hearse was towed to the street as part of the eviction process. That's when they found the body of a deceased female and additional cremains inside the vehicle. 

The body found in the hearse has been identified as a 63-year-old woman who died of natural causes in August 2022. Investigators believe the body has been in the hearse since shortly after her passing. When investigators contacted the woman's family, they said that Harford had previously given them what they believed to be the cremains of their loved one. Those cremains have been turned over to the Denver Medical Examiner's Office and police said that those cremains were that of another person.  

"It appears Mr. Harford had accumulated significant debt with several metro area crematories. As a result, these businesses would no longer work with Mr. Harford and he was unable to complete the cremation that had been prearranged by the family of the woman," said Clark. 

"Investigators also executed a search warrant on a U-Haul vehicle that was recovered in front of the residence. Through that process they located six additional urns containing cremains," said Clark. 

At the time, investigators learned Harford owned Apollo Funeral and Cremation Services in Littleton which had been closed to business since September 2022. 

Investigators have learned that that funeral home offered cremation services to those who were indigent or persons whose next of kin was not known. They are working to determine if the services provided account for some of those cremains discovered last week. 

"Harford may have occasionally provided family members with another person's cremated remains in lieu of their family members' remains so services could be held. Through conversations with the families, it has come to light that many experienced delays in obtaining cremated remains from Apollo and Mr. Hartford. Some expected pieces of jewelry with their loved ones' cremains but never received those," said Clark. 

The Denver Medical Examiner's Office believes the cremains of at least 30 decedents have been recovered. Investigators are working to identify the cremains and return them to their families. Those cremains appears to belong to those who passed away between 2012-2021.

"Once the cremation process is completed, obtaining viable DNA samples becomes a very difficult task due to the intense heat and the chemical changes that occur," said Clark. "As a result, the police department and the medical examiner's office will not be conducting DNA testing on remains recovered from the residence or those that may have been previously provided by Mr. Harford."

Investigators are asking that any clients of Apollo Funeral and Cremation Services who did not receive the cremains of a loved one, or experienced any irregularity with, or had concerns about, the services provided by the funeral home, are encouraged to call the hotline set up by the Denver Police Major Crimes Division and Denver Police Victim Assistance Unit at 720-913-6610.  

In addition to OME, DPD investigators are working with the Denver District Attorney's Office on this case. Investigators continue investigating and ask for anyone with information to please contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP. 

Investigators believe that Harford is in the Denver metro area and are working on locating him to make an arrest. They anticipate that additional charges may be filed. 

"We're working to facilitate an arrest," said Clark. 

If convicted on those charges, Harford faces up to 3 years in jail. 

Last fall, the gruesome discovery of 190 "improperly stored" bodies was made at the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose. It was October 2023 when Fremont County authorities discovered the scene after neighbors complained of a strong odor. The owners of the funeral home, 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. Twenty-two bodies remain unidentified.

Investigators said there is no connection between the case in Denver and the investigation in Fremont County. 

Sister of Penrose funeral home victim wants Colorado to regulate funeral industry 02:52
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