OAN’s Abril Elfi
1:12 PM – Wednesday, November 8, 2023
The couple that owns a “green” funeral home, where 190 decaying remains were found, have been arrested.
El Paso and Fremont county authorities held a press conference on Wednesday, announcing the arrests of Jon and Carie Hallford. The duo was charged with abuse of a corpse, forgery, theft and money laundering after at least 190 “improperly stored” bodies, 80 of whom are still unidentified, were found at their funeral home.
4th Judicial District Attorney Michael J. Allen spoke at the conference stating that the probable cause affidavit for the arrest is sealed.
Governor Jared Polis (D-Colo.) released a statement following the arrests.
“I am relieved that criminal charges have been brought against the funeral home owner and a criminal investigation is proceeding,” Polis said. “I know this will not bring peace to the families impacted by this heart-wrenching incident but we hope the individuals responsible are held fully accountable in a court of law.”
According to Allen, Jon owned Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose in Fremont County, Colorado which specializes in green burials and cremations.
The “green” home is supposed to provide “green” burials without embalming chemicals or metal caskets.
On October 4th, more than 100 bodies were found at the “green” funeral home after investigators got a call about “abhorred smells.”
Records also stated that even though Hallford admitted that he had a “problem” at the property, he tried to conceal the improper storage of the bodies by claiming that he was doing taxidermy.
Officials initially estimated there were roughly 115 bodies inside, but the figure was later upped to 189 when they finished removing all the remains in mid-October.
At Wednesday’s press conference, Fremont County Coroner Randy Keller stated that the number of bodies discovered is now 190.
Authorities have identified 110 victims from those discovered using fingerprints, dental records and medical hardware.
Keller stated that they will use DNA to identify the remaining bodies.
He also said that 25 bodies have been released to loved ones.
It is unclear why the Hallfords were in Oklahoma at the time of their arrest.
The Hallfords are being held in Wagoner, Oklahoma, awaiting an extradition hearing. They are being held on a $2 million bond.
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