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Funeral home owners finally arrested after almost 200 decomposing bodies were found

Mia Williams

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| Last updated 

Funeral home owners finally arrested after almost 200 decomposing bodies were found

Featured Image Credit: Wagoner County Sheriff

Funeral home owners were arrested for multiple crimes, following a putrid smell at their house, after 190 decomposing bodies were found at their site.

Jon and Carrie Hallford, the owners of Return to Nature funeral home, were arrested on Wednesday after police found nearly 200 dead bodies on their premises.

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They were charged with four crimes, including abuse of a corpse, theft, money laundering and forgery.

Concerned neighbours detected a ‘dead animal smell’ coming from the site, and as a result, police went and investigated the property.

190 bodies had been improperly stored, and investigators who are working on the case believe that the malpractice could go as far back as 2019.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis released a statement after the arrests, which said: “I am relieved that criminal charges have been brought against the funeral home owner, and a criminal investigation is proceeding.

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“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.”

Concerned neighbours detected a ‘dead animal smell’ coming from the site. Credit: WAGONER COUNTY SHERIFF
Concerned neighbours detected a ‘dead animal smell’ coming from the site. Credit: WAGONER COUNTY SHERIFF

Fremont County Coroner Randy Keller, detailed that the police were able to so far identify 110 of the bodies found at the estate, leaving 80 bodies still left to be identified.

The team managed to recover identities using fingerprints, dental records and medical devices, and DNA tests were also on hand in cases where their bodies were badly decomposed and not able to be identified using these methods.

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So far, at least one family whose relative had been identified have sued Return to Nature funeral home for their illegal malpractice.

Lindsay Maher’s family used their services for the burial of their late grandmother, Yong Anderson, this summer.

She has claimed that the scandalous pair sent her family ‘concrete dust’ instead of the ashes of her grandmother.

Talking to the Daily Mail, she said: “To say my family is horrified and enraged is an understatement.

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"I know this will not bring peace to the families impacted." Credit: WAGONER COUNTY SHERIFF
"I know this will not bring peace to the families impacted." Credit: WAGONER COUNTY SHERIFF

“My grandma’s last wishes were to be cremated and have her ashes spread in the ocean.

“It turns out the ashes we received from Return 2 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.

“They falsified my grandma's death certificate and handed my grieving family concrete dust.”

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73-year-old Joyce Pavetti, who lives across from the building, said: “We just assumed it was a dead animal.”

Topics: News, Crime, US News, Health

Mia Williams
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