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Demolition of funeral home facility in Colorado where bodies were found improperly stored begins this week

Demolition set for Return to Nature Funeral Home
Demolition set for Return to Nature Funeral Home 02:53

Demolition work will begin on Tuesday at the site of a southern Colorado funeral home facility where nearly 200 decomposing and improperly stored bodies were found last year. On Monday a crew from the Environmental Protection Agency will begin mobilization at the site with contractors to receive equipment and materials for the demolition.

The facility was owned by the Return to Nature funeral home and it's located in Penrose. The gruesome discovery was made there in October after neighbors reported a foul smell to law enforcement. All of the bodies were eventually removed from the funeral home and transported to the coroner's office.

The Fremont County's coroner said last week that 18 of the bodies have yet to be identified.

A neighbor who lives across the street from the facility said she can't wait for it to be gone.

"I'm just thrilled it's finally gone, coming down," said Joyce Pavetti. "Not having to look over there and see it every day, you know, it will be great."

A ceremony for the victims and their families is scheduled to take place on Tuesday morning on the site before demolition begins.

"We'll probably have a pastor, get up and say a few words also, again it's just a relatively short ceremony to help families with closure," said Fremount County Coroner Randy Keller.

The demolition process will involve moving the building materials, the foundation and the top layer of dirt beneath it to an Otero County landfill. The entire demolition will take about a week to 10 days to complete.

There is currently a bill being considered in the Colorado State Legislature that would require a license for funeral home directors in the state. That's something that wasn't required for Return to Nature owners Jon and Carie Hallford. Both are in back jail as prosecutors continue to build their case against them.

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