Researchers call conditions at a funeral home in the United States ‘abhorrent’. In their report they describe how dozens of bodies were stacked on top of each other, some even dated from 2019 and had therefore been there for years. The owners of the funeral home have been arrested.
A total of 190 badly decomposed human bodies were found at the ‘Return to Nature’ funeral home in the US state of Colorado. The horrific abuse came to light on October 4 after local residents alerted authorities about a ‘nauseating smell’.
Ashes not from loved ones
Relatives react in shock to the abuses at the funeral home. Crystina Page is one of them. Her son David died at the age of 20 after being shot by police in 2019. She had him cremated at ‘Return to Nature’ and carefully stored her son’s ashes in an urn for the past four years.
At least, that’s what she thought. The ashes that the funeral home gave her do not appear to belong to her son. His body lay rotting in the funeral home for years. “For four years I marched across the country with this urn, convinced it was my son,” Page said. “My son has been rotting there for four years. It’s the most horrible feeling I’ve ever had in my life.”
And Page isn’t alone. According to news agency AP several relatives have been informed by the FBI that their loved ones are among the decomposed bodies. The ashes they received from the funeral home turned out to be fake. The families have been asked to provide samples of those ashes for analysis.
Funeral home owners were having financial problems
The funeral home’s owners, Jon and Carie Hallford, started their business in 2017, but have struggled with financial and legal problems in recent years. It turns out they haven’t paid taxes for months, were evicted from one of their properties and were sued over unpaid bills by a crematorium that hadn’t done business with them for almost a year. This is evident from public records and interviews with people who worked with the Hallfords.
Police documents show the Hallfords fled the funeral home to avoid prosecution, but failed. Both were arrested. They are suspected of at least four crimes: abuse of a corpse, theft, money laundering and forgery. “The documents on which the charges are based contain absolutely shocking information,” the prosecutor said during a press conference yesterday.
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