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Jan and Carrie Hallford operated the Return To Nature funeral home in the Penrose area of Colorado Springs which recently underwent demolition.
Cover Image Source: YouTube | NBC News
Cover Image Source: YouTube | NBC News

In late 2023, a married couple in their 40s were arrested when 190 bodies were found decaying in their funeral home in Colorado. These corpses were infested by flies and maggots, prompting authorities to charge 44-year-old Jon Hallford and his 47-year-old wife Carrie Hallford with storing the bodies in that condition. Months after their arrest, the duo now face new charges of fraud for spending almost $900,000 worth of COVID relief funds on personal expenses, as per the reports of the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pavel Danilyuk
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pavel Danilyuk

Both Jon and Carrie individually face 13 counts of wire transfer fraud and 2 counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with their scheme. They were owners of Return to Nature Funeral Home which was located in Penrose, Colorado, and allegedly spent $882,300 of the pandemic relief funds on purchases such as a vehicle, lavish vacations, entertainment, dining out, tuition for a minor child, cryptocurrency, cosmetic medical procedures, jewelry and merchandise from Amazon, as reported by PEOPLE.

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“From March 30, 2020, through on or about October 20, 2021, the Hallfords worked together to prepare and submit loan documentation to the SBA which contained materially false representations,” the indictment alleged, adding that the couple allegedly falsified their statements while submitting the application process of the loan, claiming that "they were not engaged in any illegal activity" and "neither of them was more than 60 days delinquent on child support obligations."

Image Source: United States Environmental State Protection Agency's
Image Source: United States Environmental State Protection Agency

According to The Guardian, prosecutors also discovered text messages exchanged between the funeral home owners that revealed their fear of mishandling the dead bodies piling up as well as financial pressure. One of them suggested destroying the corpses by "digging a big hole and treating them with lye or setting them on fire."

"23 of the bodies had death dates from 2019 and 61 were from 2020," FBI agent Andrew Cohen told the outlet. "The remaining bodies included adults, infants, and fetuses. They were being stored at room temperature in a neglected building in the small Rocky Mountain town of Penrose."

Image Source: United States Environmental State Protection Agency's
Image Source: United States Environmental State Protection Agency

Cohen added during a hearing for one of the accused that the storage containing the bodies "looked like something you’d like to forget but  you can’t." The FBI agent mentioned that several other bodies found in the mishandled heap were not identified. The United States Environmental State Protection Agency's contractors started the demolition of the Return to Nature Funeral Home on April 16, 2024. 


"The Hallfords concealed the gruesome collection of bodies by preventing outsiders from entering their building, covering the windows and doors of the building to limit others from viewing inside, and providing false statements to others regarding the foul odor emanating from the building and the true nature of the activity occurring inside,” the federal indictment said, as per reports from CNN. "The Hallfords each face up to 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines if convicted in the federal case."


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