Owners Of Colorado Funeral Home Where Nearly 200 Bodies Were Found Charged

The owners of a Colorado Springs funeral home have been indicted on federal charges including fraud related to COVID relief funds. Authorities say they failed to cremate or bury at least 190 bodies they were paid to handle dating back to at least 2019, according to court documents unsealed Monday.

Jon and Carie Hallford, who owned Return to Nature Funeral Home in the Penrose area of Colorado Springs, were indicted on 15 charges brought by a federal grand jury in Colorado District Court. The indictment brought back previous accusations that the Hallfords gave families dry concrete instead of ashes, collected more than $130,000 from families for cremations and burials they never performed and buried the wrong body on at least two occasions.

The new charges are in addition to the hundreds of felonies the Hallfords are already facing in Colorado, including misspending pandemic relief funds, abusing corpses, theft, money laundering and forgery. They are also facing lawsuits from many of the families that hired Return to Nature.

The federal offenses can bring potential penalties of $250,000 in fines and 20 years in prison, according to the court documents.

Authorities began investigating the Colorado funeral home in October 2023 after neighbors reported the putrid smell of decaying bodies, which investigators say Jon Hallford falsely attributed to his taxidermy hobby.

The EPA has concluded the building itself is too full of “biohazards” to ever be reused, and has scheduled an estimated 10-day demolition to begin Wednesday.

Read more here from USA Today.