Colorado funeral home owners were arrested in Oklahoma after 189 decomposing bodies were discovered
Authorities arrested Colorado funeral home owner and his wife In connection with the investigation into approximately 200 bodies found to be improperly stored.
According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Fourth Judicial District of Colorado, John and Carrie Halford were arrested in Wagoner, Oklahoma, which is about 40 miles east of Tulsa. They face charges of assault on a corpse, theft, money laundering and forgery.
Families whose loved ones were victims Inquest at Penrose Funeral Home They were notified of the arrest on Wednesday.
John Halford is listed as the company’s owner, according to Colorado Secretary of State records.
The funeral home is located in Penrose, Colorado, approximately 33 miles southwest of Colorado Springs.
According to the press release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Fourth Judicial District of Colorado will review the case and file appropriate charges for El Paso County.
“In the meantime, investigators from multiple agencies are continuing their work to identify the bodies discovered during this investigation,” the statement said. “If you or someone you know worked with Return to Nature Funeral Home between September 2019 and September 2023, please complete our victim information search questionnaire.”
District Attorney Michael Allen declined to provide further details in a Press conference Wednesday Why does the timeline cover a four-year period? He added that an Oklahoma judge will decide to extradite the couple to Colorado, whether they object to it or not.
He explained that because Return to Nature Funeral Home is based in Colorado Springs, that gave his office jurisdiction over the investigation.
The affidavit of probable cause, a document that lists how authorities bring charges against someone, is sealed and will not be released, Allen said.
Neither Hallfords responded to USA TODAY’s requests for comment Wednesday. It’s not clear if they have an attorney who can comment on their behalf.
The couple is being held on a $2 million cash bond each, Allen said.
Authorities in October removed at least 189 bodies Weeks of funeral Neighbors reported smelling a foul odor. Fremont County Sheriff Allen Cooper and coroner Randy Keller said Joint release on October 17 All remains were removed on October 13.
Investigators said the total number of bodies found at the facility may change as they continue to investigate and identify the remains. As of Wednesday, Keller said his office was still identifying the remains using medical and dental records, but would eventually turn to DNA records.
Location for Back to Nature’s Funeral Home He has been offline since at least October 31. According to the Wayback Machine, an online archive site, The funeral home’s website was last active on October 18.
The Facebook page and phone number connected to the funeral home have also been inactive since the end of October. The funeral home has been in operation since 2017, according to public records, with locations in Colorado Springs and Penrose.
Return to Nature Funeral Home is known for having “green” burials where embalming chemicals or metal caskets are used. The cost of a burial there is about $1,895 and does not include a casket and cemetery space, according to site archives.
Contributing: Thao Nguyen, Janine Santucci, USA TODAY; News agency
This article originally appeared in The Oklahoman: Couple arrested at Colorado funeral home after nearly 200 bodies found