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EPA to demolish funeral home in Colorado where 190 "improperly stored" bodies were discovered

EPA to demolish funeral home in Colorado where 190 "improperly stored" bodies were discovered
EPA to demolish funeral home in Colorado where 190 "improperly stored" bodies were discovered 00:31

The Environmental Protection Agency will demolish the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose where 190 "improperly stored" bodies were discovered in October. The Fremont County Sheriff's Office began an investigation on Oct. 4 after neighbors reported an odor emanating from the Penrose facility located at 31 Werner Road.   

The Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose.  CBS

Following an assessment, the EPA determined that "demolition of the building is necessary to safely remove biological and hazardous materials found in the building." The plan is to conduct the demolition in January. 

The EPA team, wearing protective clothing to protect them from any residual medical or hazardous materials that remained inside the building, conducted an assessment of the building on Nov. 15. The EPA's emergency response team responds to oil spills, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents and provides support when local first responder capabilities have been exceeded. 

Jon Hallford Wagoner County Sheriff

Jon and Carie Hallford were arrested last month in Oklahoma on suspicion of committing the crimes of abuse of a corpse, theft, money laundering and forgery, which are all felonies. 

Carie Hallford Wagoner County Sheriff

The Hallfords remain in custody after their extradition back to Colorado and appeared in court on Tuesday afternoon. They are scheduled for their next court appearance in January. 

After the search warrant was issued, investigators found the 190 bodies inside the building and said the "conditions within the building were abhorrent" and that "bodies were located stacked on top of each other and some were not in body bags." The affidavit also goes on, "Human decomposition fluids and insects lined the floors" with some of the dates on the bodies listing death in 2019. 

The scene outside the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose.  CBS

According to investigators, the identified bodies were reported to the state by the funeral home as cremated or buried. 

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

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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