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Deceased woman's remains, cremated remains found at Denver home rented by former funeral home owner

The suspect had been renting the home and was evicted in early February. During the subsequent cleanup of the home, the human remains and cremains were discovered. An arrest warrant has been issued.
Arrest Warrant Issued for Former Funeral Home Owner for Investigation of Abuse of a Corpse, Forgery and Theft_Miles Harford
Posted at 10:24 AM, Feb 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-16 19:19:36-05

DENVER — A woman's remains and the cremains of at least 30 other people were recovered from a Denver property — including inside a hearse — that was previously rented by a former funeral home owner, the Denver Police Department (DPD) announced on Friday.

On Friday morning, DPD said that it had issued an arrest warrant for Miles Harford, 33, for investigation of abuse of a corpse, forgery and theft. Police were recently in contact with Harford and are now working to arrest him. They said they believe he is in the Denver area.

This case began on the morning of Feb. 6, when deputies with the Denver Sheriff's Department went to the 2500 block of S. Quitman Street for an eviction. After the tenants were out, the homeowner entered the home to begin cleaning. While in the home's crawl space, they found several boxes containing temporary urns and cremated remains, also called cremains, DPD Major Crimes Division Commander Matt Clark said during a press conference Friday. Nearly three dozen temporary urns — black, plastic boxes the size of a shoe box — were located. Some were empty.

The homeowner alerted the deputies with the sheriff's department, which then contacted the Denver Medical Examiner’s Office (OME) and DPD, which both responded to the home.

Once they arrived, they began processing the scene, which included a hearse parked on the property. It was towed to the street and while examining the inside of the vehicle, investigators found the body of a deceased female covered in a blanket and additional cremains, Clark said. 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.

The woman's family was contacted, and they told police that Harford had previously given them what they believed were the cremains of their loved one. They held a service with a different person's remains, Clark said. After this discovery, the cremains the family had held onto were provided to the OME.

Authorities also found six urns with cremains in a U-haul on the property, Clark said.

All of the cremains found in this case were professionally done, police said.

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

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. He said investigators uncovered that Harford had experienced financial trouble and was not always able to provide cremains to families. He may have occasionally provided the incorrect cremains to families so they could hold services, he said. He also had a significant debt with local cremators, so they stopped working with him, Clark said.

Though it is not clear when the conversation was held, Harford told police he could not find a crematory to process the body of the woman who was found in the hearse, Clark said.

As of this point in the investigation, OME said that it believes the cremains of "potentially 30 decedents" have been found and recovered, though Clark said "at least 30." Clark said all of the cremains are associated with people who died between 2012 and 2021. Because of the intense heat and chemical changes that occur with cremation, the DPD and OME will not conduct DNA testing on the recovered remains, Clark said. However, some of the cremains are in sealed bags with tags, so DPD will work with the OME to return them to families.

Investigators are using state databases and labels on the outside of urns to identify the cremains and return them to the person's loved ones.

Clark said Harford is not "on the run" and is cooperating with police. However, he has not been arrested as of 12:20 p.m. Friday. Police are "working to facilitate an arrest," Clark said.

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 in a decrepit building.

Denver7 is working to learn more. This story will be updated.

Woman’s decaying body discovered in hearse, cremains of at least 30 people in Denver

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