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‘Numerous’ bodies pulled from Penrose funeral home identified; Families to be notified soon

PENROSE, Colo. (KRDO) - More than two weeks after authorities discovered nearly 200 bodies improperly stored in an abandoned funeral home in Penrose, the Fremont County Coroner's Office announced many of the victims have been identified.

According to Fremont County Coroner Randy Keller, "numerous decedents" have been identified and families will be notified in the coming days.

Keller also said the investigation into the Return to Nature Funeral Home is “moving forward in a very fluid and precise manner,” after nearly 200 bodies were found improperly stored in the abandoned funeral home.

As of Oct. 13, all bodies have been removed from the facility, totaling at least 189, and sent to multiple coroner offices across the state, including Fremont, El Paso, and Douglas Counties.

“Our extensive coordination efforts are focused not only on the identification of decedents but also focused on providing notifications to ensure that families are given accurate information to prevent further victimization as they continue to grieve for their loved ones,” Keller said.

Keller said families will be notified by the Fremont County Coroner's Office or by victim advocates. While many people have been identified, Keller asks other families with questions to remain patient as some identification could take months.

“While some identifications have been accomplished quickly, further identifications are more complicated and may take several weeks or even months to complete,” he said.

13 Investigates asked Keller how many years worth of bodies were found in the Penrose funeral home, but he said he couldn’t release that information at this time.

Our team has continued to try and reach out to the Return to Nature Funeral Home owners, Jon and Carie Hallford, about the improperly stored bodies. As of Oct. 20, we've yet to hear back. 13 Investigates did find Return to Nature and the Hallfords face multiple lawsuits, alleging the couple owes funeral service companies and individuals thousands of dollars.

If you used Return to Nature for burial or cremation services or have any information about this case, you are asked to contact the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office hotline at 719-276-7421 or the FBI at

“My office and every agency involved has and will treat these individuals and their families with the utmost care and respect every step of the way until this investigation is completed,” Keller said.

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Quinn Ritzdorf

Quinn is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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