Court documents reveal how Colorado funeral home owners were caught, past run-ins in Oklahoma

DENVER, Colo. (KFOR) – Court documents reveal more details about the couple arrested after nearly 200 bodies were found decaying in their Colorado funeral home, including how they were discovered in Oklahoma and their ties to the Sooner State.

On Wednesday, Jon and Carie Hallford were arrested in Wagoner, Oklahoma, on suspicion of four felonies — abuse of a corpse, theft, money laundering and forgery.

‘Horrendous tragedy’: Owners of Colorado funeral home where nearly 200 decaying bodies found arrested in Oklahoma

An investigation was launched in early October 2023, when the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado responded to a report of a “horrific odor” coming from the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose, Colorado.

Inside, at least 189 bodies were discovered in various stages of decomposition.

“The conditions inside the building were abhorrent; bodies were located stacked on top of each other and some were not in body bags,” reads the affidavit. “Human decomposition fluids and insects lined the floors. Some of the bodies had dates of death in 2019, and the positive identification of all of the bodies has been difficult.”

According to the affidavit, Jon told investigators that he was using the building to ‘learn how to do taxidermy and that he knew he had a problem there.’

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Authorities tracked Carie’s phone through cell towers to Wagoner, Oklahoma, where Jon’s parents live.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents observed the home and found a black Volkswagen with a Colorado license plate registered to Jon Hallford parked outside.

At the end of October, after not paying the month’s rent, the Hallfords’ landlord informed the couple they were being evicted. The pair told the landlord they would not contest the eviction, but would not be back to collect their things.

By Nov. 7, authorities secured an arrest warrant and Jon and Carie Hallford were taken into custody.

Doc: Jon Hallford tried to conceal the improper storage of corpses

The Hallfords’ financial woes and troubles with the law didn’t begin in Colorado, nor have they ended in the Centennial State.

According to The Gazette, a Colorado case against Carie and Jon Hallford and their Hallfordhomes LLC were sued by Wilbert Funeral Services in March of this year and were ordered to pay over $18,000 after failing to appear.

Another Colorado civil lawsuit from a property management company against the Hallfords and Return to Nature Funeral Home is still ongoing.

Back to 2006 in Oklahoma, Jon Hallford was charged with a misdemeanor of pointing a deadly weapon after staging a fake robbery with some friends as a prank on one of the friend’s sisters during a slumber party with several other girls, according to the Tulsa World.

He was running for Muskogee City Council at the time. The Tulsa World later reported he eventually pleaded guilty to the charge and faced an “overwhelming” loss for the city council seat.

That same year, he was ordered to pay over $8,000 to Creditors Recovery Corporation.

In 2009, he was ordered to pay more than $1,000 to a Tulsa apartment complex after being served a forcible entry and detainer and failing to appear for his court date.

According to The Gazette, Jon Hallford once again failed to appear for a court date in 2011 and was ordered to pay over $5,000 for a lawsuit by Shannon Square LLC against Hallford and Hallford Cremation & Funeral Options LLC – a business registered with the Oklahoma Secretary of State for only one year.

The Hallfords are now facing at least 189 counts of Abuse of a Corpse, five counts of Theft, four counts of Money Laundering and over 50 counts of Forgery.

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