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Suspect arrested in connection with human remains, cremains found on Denver property

Former funeral home owner bonded out of jail Friday afternoon
Arrest Warrant Issued for Former Funeral Home Owner for Investigation of Abuse of a Corpse, Forgery and Theft_Miles Harford
Posted at 9:11 AM, Feb 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-23 21:41:55-05

A former funeral home owner, who was wanted by police in connection with human remains and cremains found in Denver earlier this month, was arrested Thursday night.

The Englewood Police Department took Miles Harford, 33, into custody just after 10:30 p.m. Thursday. He was held at the Arapahoe County Detention Center after a warrant for his arrest was issued Monday, Feb. 12. On Friday, he was released on a personal recognizance bond.

Harford appeared in court Friday morning and later bonded out of jail. He faces charges of abuse of a corpse, forgery and theft, according to his arrest warrant.

When the discovery of the human remains and cremains was announced Feb. 16, DPD Major Crimes Division Commander Matt Clark said Harford was not "on the run" and was cooperating with police. However, he had not been arrested more than 10 days after the discovery was made. Police were "working to facilitate an arrest," Clark said.

But Harford wasn't taken into custody for 16 days after the remains and cremains were first found.

Arrest Warrant Issued for Former Funeral Home Owner for Investigation of Abuse of a Corpse, Forgery and Theft_Miles Harford

Local News

Human remains, cremains found at Denver home rented by former funeral home owner

Stephanie Butzer
10:24 AM, Feb 16, 2024

This case began Tuesday, Feb. 6 just before 11 a.m., when the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner was called to a property in southwest Denver near the intersection of W Harvard Avenue and S Quitman Street to address multiple boxes of human remains found on the premises, according to the arrest warrant for Harford.

The Denver Police Communications Call Center got in touch with a detective to let him know what was going on, the arrest warrant said. The detective learned the tenant of the property in southwest Denver was being evicted, and when sheriff's deputies were executing the eviction order, that's when they discovered the remains and cremains.

The detective went to the property to help an investigator with the medical examiner's office.

Upon arrival, the investigator with the medical examiner's office confirmed multiple boxes that the sheriff's department moved into the front yard of the residence were ashes of human bodies that had been cremated, the arrest warrant said.

There were no physical human body parts found in the initial search of the property, according to the arrest warrant.

The detective and investigator counted approximately 29 boxes of cremated remains in the front yard. The,n the medical investigator alerted the detective she could see inside of a hearse where she could spot more boxes of cremated remains in plain view, according to the arrest warrant. The hearse was moved out of the driveway of the residence onto the public street as part of the sheriff's department eviction.

The investigator got verbal consent to unlock the door of the vehicle to collect the remains under her responsibility with the medical examiner's office. That's when she noticed a "foul order that is consistent with decomposition," the warrant reads.

The investigator saw the outline of a human body underneath a blanket on a gurney inside the vehicle, according to the warrant. "The body appeared to be strapped to the gurney," the warrant reads.

The detective got a search warrant to get the body removed from the vehicle and taken to the medical examiner's office for an autopsy.

The body was later identified as a 63-year-old woman who had died of natural causes in August 2022. Police said they believe her body had been kept in the hearse since her passing, DPD Major Crimes Division Commander Matt Clark said.

The next day, another detective got a call more boxes of cremated human remains were discovered from the eviction. That detective went back to the property to help the medical examiner's office with recovering the cremains.

In the process, the detective conducted a traffic stop with someone whose name and description were redacted in the arrest warrant for Harford. But that person consented to an interview at Denver Police Department headquarters. In the interview, that person told DPD Harford was currently at a residence in Morrison.

When officers got in touch with Harford, he also agreed to an interview at DPD headquarters on Feb. 7 - the day after the cremains were found - just before 8:30 p.m.

Harford waived his Miranda Rights "indicating" something that was also redacted in his arrest warrant.

"After discussing the different databases that Harford controlled and accessed pertaining to his business, he also advised" something else that was redacted in the arrest warrant.

Harford gave officers the passcode to his phone to gather data for the investigation, including correspondence with the families of the deceased he worked with, according to his arrest warrant.

During the investigation, authorities learned that Harford had previously owned Apollo Funeral and Cremation Services in Littleton, which opened in 2012 and closed in September 2022, Clark said. Investigators uncovered that Harford had experienced financial trouble and was not always able to provide cremains to families, Clark said. He may have occasionally provided the incorrect cremains to families so they could hold services, he said.

"Throughout the investigation several online reviews of the company, Apollo Funeral and Cremation Services, and noticed that there are multiple complaints made by family members indicating the lack of communication from Apollo Funeral and Cremation Services in giving back the cremains of their loved ones. One review advised that they received the cremains of a different individual who was not their loved one. They determined that based on the urn that was provided to them having a different name than their loved one," the arrest warrant for Miles said.

Of the 35 temporary urns of cremains found during the eviction, the medical examiner's office has been able to "possibly establish the identity of eighteen individuals," the arrest warrant reads.

"Efforts are currently ongoing in locating next of kin information for each of those identified cremains," the warrant continued.

Victim advocates are working with the impacted families. Clark said the conversations have been "extremely difficult."

Any clients of Apollo Funeral and Cremation Services who did not receive the cremains of their loved one, or had an irregular experience with Harford's company, are asked to call the Denver Police Major Crimes Division and Denver Police Victim Assistance Unit at 720-913-6610. Tipsters can anonymously pass along information by calling Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP.

DPD said there is no known connection between this case and the ongoing investigation into Return to Nature in Fremont County, in which court documents say nearly 200 decomposing bodies were found on the premises.

Suspect arrested in connection with human remains, cremains found in Denver

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