Police in Oklahoma arrested the owners of an abandoned El Paso County, Colorado, funeral home, where 190 decomposing human remains were discovered on Nov. 8.
The couple, Jon and Carie Hallford, were arrested while on the run from law enforcement on charges of abuse of a corpse, theft, money laundering, and forgery, according to reporting from KRDO-TV.
Carie Hallford appeared before the District Court in Colorado Springs for an advisement hearing on Wednesday via video, KRDO-TV and NBC News reported.
Jon was transferred to the El Paso County Jail that day, according to KRDO-TV.
The couple were hit with the aforementioned charges a month earlier after police examined the Return to Nature funeral home’s premises in Penrose following reports of an “abhorrent smell,” The Daily Mail reported.
There, investigators uncovered 190 sets of dead remains — some as old as four years — at the premises, according to reporting from the outlet.
? Colorado Funeral Home Owners Where 190 Decomposing Bodies Were Found to Face Charges
¦ Carie and Jon Hallford, owners of a now-closed funeral home, face over 250 felony charges after the discovery of 190 decomposing human remains.
— nik t. hatziefstathiou (@nikthehat) November 25, 2023
Using fingerprints and medical records, investigators were able to identify the bodies of 110 individuals, according to Fremont County Coroner Randy Keller, the Mail reported.
The coroner’s office is working “diligently” to identify the remaining corpses, Keller stated.
Speaking to reporters at a news conference, Keller said that around 137 families were contacted by officials and 24 corpses were returned, according to the newspaper.
Keller urged anyone who used the services of Return to Nature between September 2019 and 2023 to contact his office.
“I am relieved that criminal charges have been brought against the funeral home owner, and a criminal investigation is proceeding,” Democratic Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement shared on X.
“I know this will not bring peace to the families impacted, but we hope the individuals responsible are held fully accountable in a court of law,” the statement said.
District Judge Samorreyan Burney set the couple’s bail at $2 million cash per person during Carie’s Wednesday court appearance and Jon’s Friday court appearance, NBC News reported.
Burney declined a request by Carie’s public defender to decrease the bond to $50,000, citing Carie’s lack of criminal history, deeming Carie to be a “risk to the community,” KRDO-TV reported.
“To say my family is horrified and enraged is an understatement,” Woodland Park resident Lindsay Maher said, alleging that the funeral home gave her family “concrete dust” instead of the ashes of her grandmother Yong Anderson, according to the Mail.
“My grandma’s last wishes were to be cremated and have her ashes spread in the ocean,” Maher said.
“It turns out the ashes we received from Return To Nature was actually just concrete dust and my grandma’s body has been at the abandoned building this entire time just decaying next to 114 other bodies of 114 other unsuspecting families,” Maher alleged.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.