A Colorado funeral home owner in Penrose, Jon Hallford, has been accused of concealing the improper storage of corpses and claiming he was engaged in taxidermy, according to a suspension letter sent to him by state regulators. The investigation into the Return to Nature Funeral Home, where 115 decaying bodies were discovered, was launched after reports of an “abhorrent smell” emanating from the facility. The funeral home had also been unregistered for ten months. Hallford acknowledged the existence of a “problem” at the property during a phone conversation with a state regulator, although the details of the issue remain undisclosed.
Authorities have found at least 115 bodies at the Return to Nature Funeral Home, which specializes in “green” burials without embalming chemicals or metal caskets. The investigation began when local residents reported a foul stench coming from the building. Upon executing a search warrant, law enforcement discovered the improperly stored remains. The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office is working with other agencies to determine if any wrongdoing occurred.
While it is unclear if a crime has been committed, the investigation is ongoing at both the state and federal levels. The FBI is involved in the case. The funeral home operators are cooperating with investigators. Authorities have stated that there is currently no health risk to the public.
Penrose, a small town with a population of approximately 3,000, is where the funeral home is located. Trash bags were observed outside the building, and law enforcement vehicles were present. The area was cordoned off with yellow police tape, and a strong odor permeated the air. The funeral home, which offered natural burials and cremation services, charged $1,895 for a “natural burial,” excluding additional costs.
Return to Nature Funeral Home was established six years ago in Colorado Springs. The building and lot where the funeral home operated are owned by Hallfordhomes, LLC, a business that was declared delinquent by the Colorado Secretary of State for failing to file a routine reporting form. The investigation is ongoing, and no arrests or charges have been made thus far.