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Daughter reacts after mother’s body is one of the first identified within Penrose funeral home

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) - One family who used the Return to Nature funeral home tells KRDO13 Investigates that they've received confirmation that their loved one was one of 189 bodies that were improperly stored at one of the funeral home's facilities in Penrose.

Investigators announced they would begin notifying families on October 20, after the successful removal of the dozens of decomposing bodies were brought to Coroners' offices in southern Colorado.

Oct. 20 was the same day that Tanya Wilson was contacted by investigators, who arranged a meeting with her and her brother in Woodland Park at the home where their mother Yong Anderson lived before her passing in June of 2023.

"I didn't feel any surprise when I first heard the words because I knew, you know, in my heart, I knew that she was going to be [one of the bodies]." said Wilson.

After Anderson's remains were handed over to the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Colorado Springs this summer, Wilson previously told 13 Investigates that she slowly started to see more and more "red flags" about the way the business operated.

Between finding out about a falsified death certificate, to performing tests to see if her mother's ashes, were actually concrete, or "Quikrete," Wilsons says the month of October has been a roller coaster of emotions. Wilson has also previously explained to KRDO13 Investigates that she and her brother flew to Hawaii to spread what they thought were their mothers ashes, as per her request, into the Pacific Ocean -- a place where she spent about 20 years of her life.

Fast forward, and on Monday, October 23, the Fremont County Coroner along with a deputy coroner, the Colorado Bureau of Investigations, and an FBI Victims Assistance member met with Wilson and her brother, informing her that their mother's body had been identified by matching fingerprints.

"Relief. I think in this situation that the best thing that could have happened was to find her, because if they hadn't, then we would have been left wondering, you know, forever," said Wilson.

She explains, however, that after that feeling of relief came waves of anger, and is now focused on bringing about change to the way Colorado regulates the funeral industry -- a topic KRDO13 Investigates has reported on previously.

"Colorado definitely needs to push for legislation that has some teeth behind it, something with some real consequence and something that can be enforced," explained Wilson.

She says it's all in the hopes that no other families in Colorado have to endure what the Return to Nature Funeral Home has done to her and so many others.

"They picked up our mother and stole our money and proceeded to leave her in a building to rot" said Wilson.

"I just think, I believe in karma, and I think they'll get what they deserve," she added.

Wilson says that she has talked with a local funeral home who has offered its cremation services for free, something that was brought to her attention during that meeting she had with investigators on October 20.

As for spreading the ashes in Hawaii a second time, as per her mother's wishes:

"That's that's not even a question," Wilson says. "She's waited long enough."

Article Topic Follows: News
Colorado Springs
Fremont County Coroner
Fremont County Crime
local news
Woodland Park

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Tyler Cunnington

Tyler is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about him here.


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