November 8, 2023

USA: Owners Of The Return to Nature Funeral Home Arrested In Oklahoma More Than A Month After 190 Improperly Stored Bodies Were Discovered Inside A Facility In Penrose, Colorado.

Nov 8, 2023: Owners of funeral home where 190 improperly stored bodies discovered arrested. The owners of the Return to Nature Funeral Home have been arrested more than a month after 190 improperly stored bodies were discovered inside a facility in Penrose. 
9NEWS published November 8, 2023: Officials give update on arrest of Colorado funeral home owners. The couple who owns a Penrose funeral home where at least 189 bodies were improperly stored were arrested in Oklahoma on numerous charges, including abuse of a corpse, theft, and money laundering, the Fourth Judicial District Attorney's Office announced Tuesday morning. A court date for John and Carie Hallford in El Paso County will be set once they're extradited back to Colorado.
NBC News published October 6, 2023: 115 bodies found improperly stored in a Colorado funeral home. Colorado police have discovered more than 115 bodies improperly stored in a Colorado funeral home. The funeral home had apparent complaints of an "abhorrent smell' emanating from the property. The FBI is launching a federal investigation to see if any federal laws were violated.

CBS News, Colorado local
written by Jennifer Mcrae
Wednesday November 8, 2023

The owners of the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Colorado have been arrested more than a month after 190 improperly stored bodies were discovered inside their facility in Penrose. Jon and Carie Hallford were arrested Wednesday morning in Oklahoma on suspicion of committing the crimes of abuse of a corpse, theft, money laundering and forgery, which are all felonies.

The arrests were made in Wagoner, in eastern Oklahoma, and the Hallfords were being held on a $2 million cash bond.

The Fremont County Sheriff's Office began an investigation on Oct. 4 after neighbors reported an odor emanating from the Penrose facility.

According to the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office, because the Hallfords were arrested in a different state, their first advisement in El Paso County District Court will be determined during the extradition process. District Attorney Michael Allen said that the probable cause affidavit will remain sealed to protect the investigation.

"I want to warn you, the information contained in that affidavit is absolutely shocking," said Allen during a news conference to update the investigation on Wednesday morning.

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

Fremont County Coroner Randy Keller said 110 individuals have been positively identified and work is ongoing to identify 80 more.

"Individuals are being identified through fingerprints, dental records, and medical hardware. Once we have exhausted these methods, we will move on to DNA testing, if necessary," said Keller.

"We will never know what our families are actually carrying. Some of them may be concrete dust, some of them may be other things... we won't ever know so I can't even describe the emotions our families are going through," said Chrystina Page whose son was among those decedants found inside the funeral home last month.

Gov. Jared Polis released this statement following the arrest announcement, "I am relieved that criminal charges have been brought against the funeral home owner and a criminal investigation is proceeding. 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."

The FBI and CBI had dispatched crews to the funeral home last month as part of the investigation.

At least one family involved in the investigation has filed a lawsuit against the funeral home.

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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