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Environmental Protection Agency announces new timeline for Penrose funeral home destruction

Return to Nature Funeral Home
Posted at 11:17 AM, Jan 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-26 13:17:48-05

PENROSE, Colo. — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Thursday a tentative demolition schedule for the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose, Colorado.

The Return to Nature Funeral home was the site where 190 bodies were found improperly stored along the side of Highway 115 in Penrose.

The EPA expects to begin the demolition process during the last week of February. Once the work begins, it should take a total of ten days to complete.

The cleanup process involves demolition crews spraying the interior of the buildings with disinfectant and odor suppressant. The building will carefully be torn down to prevent the spread of contaminants, and finally, crews will do a shallow surface scraping of the soil under the building footprint before being taken away to a landfill.

This comes after the demolition was supposed to take place on January 17 but was postponed following scheduling issues.

Owners Jon and Carie Hallford are currently being held in the El Paso County Jail. Carie Hallford appeared before a judge on January 17 where the court ruled there was enough probable cause to send the case against Carie to trial. Co-owner and Carie's husband Jon Hallford has his preliminary hearing set for February 8.

The Hallfords have had their bonds reduced by the courts to $100,000 cash bond, from the initial $2 million set at the time of their arrests. The Hallfords are facing hundreds of criminal charges for abuse of a corpse, fraud and money laundering.


Return to Nature Funeral Home came under investigation in October following reports of a complaint about a foul odor in the area. Investigators said they found more than 150 bodies not properly stored inside the building in various states of decomposition. The owners of the funeral home were arrested in Oklahoma in November of 2023.

In what was a multi-agency clean-up effort, coroner offices and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation worked tirelessly for a couple of weeks to remove the bodies from the building before the identification process could begin.

Victims of Return to Nature share what owner's arrests mean to them